Seriously Good Ferments
Did you know the nutritional value of many foods improves with fermentation? Ferments cut toxic compounds, add flavour and increase beneficial gut flora. It seems there are ample reasons to enjoy fermenting your food.
Ferments ooze abundantly in the wild. Yet only a diligent cook could invent a brew fit for consumption. Early brew developers were clever, patient, organised and observant.
Unfortunately, few people today know how to brew their own. Yet traditional brews bubble in every corner of the world. Aboriginal Australians use honey and Banksia. In freezing Alaska, fermented meat is big on the menu. Pulque, in Mexico, takes an underwhelming cactus juice and turns it magically into a popular drink, rich in vitamins.
Consider the remarkable longevity of a bottle of wine compared to a flask of grape juice. Although alcohol has served humanity long, the abuse of alcohol has given ferments a bad rap. In addition to this poor reputation, new inventions began competing. In recent decades, chemical preservatives and canning ended the popularity of fermentation. Yet, ferments exist despite the fact that they not required.
Ferments survive because they are enjoyed!
Surprisingly, a number of ferments are high on the average shopping list. For many people in the western world, the cultures and ferments of choice are bread, alcohol (beer, wine, cider, Perry, liquors), vinegar, tea, coffee chocolate, olives, yogurt, bread and cheese.
Science of Ferments
Ultimately, fermentation enriches food with essential amino acids, vitamins, newly available minerals and bio-active compounds. For example, Rhizopus oligosporus the active culture in Tempe, a soy cheese, increases the vitamins like niacin and riboflavin.
In addition to the acids and bioactive compounds, the ferment breeds micro-organisms which produce powerful enzymes. These enzymes break down some of the tough compounds, making the food easier to digest. By fermenting tough foods like cassava, lactic acid bacteria detoxifies any potentially poisonous substances. In Tempe, the ferment also works to decrease the oligosaccharides gases.
In conclusion, fermentation cuts through a myriad of nasty chemicals. Cereals, legumes, and tubers contain toxic compounds including Phytates, Tannins, Cyanogenic glycosides, Oxalates, Saponins, Lectins, alpha-amylase, Trypsin, and Chymotrypsin. Luckily, fermentation breaks down these anti-nutritional components such as Phytate in whole wheat breads and lectins in soy beans.
Fermenting and cooking are great ways to boost your home production, lessen our footprint and build self-empowerment.
- Make your own Kimchi with a fun soundtrack and recipe from Formidable Vegetable Sound System.
- Join a workshop on making Kombucha at our Mt Kembla site. Bookings here