A dozen years ago, there was very little information available about the health benefits of fermented foods or techniques in making lacto-fermented foods.
Although my maternal grandmother had several crocks in her rock-walled cellar, perpetually curing sauerkraut, pickles and beets. I never had the opportunity to stand by her side, learning the basics of how to re-create the same foods for my family.
What I did learn, came from eating her food. I developed a deep, strong memory of how great, authentic, well-made German-kraut smelled and tasted. When my first batch of lacto-fermented cukes turned soft and slimy, my experiences told me that shouldn’t have happened. That it was realistic to expect pickled-cukes to last through the winter, and into spring. If we didn’t eat them all first. Back to the drawing board!
What scientists say about the benefits of fermented foods
The voices of Sally Fallon (co-author, Nourishing Traditions and President, Weston A. Price Foundation), and Sandor Katz (author of Wild Fermentation) filled in the words, teachings and wisdom, for the many questions I never thought to ask my grandmother.
My fervent prayer is my children will carry the reclaimed knowledge of “pickling” a wide variety of foods, into their adult lives and that of their children. Next to teaching them about the love of Jesus Christ, I can think of nothing more important to pass along.
Collection of Fermentation Quotes
Here are a few pieces of “wisdom” regarding lacto-fermentation, that I’ve found to be fascinating and encouraging.
“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”– Sally Fallon, co-author of Nourishing Traditions
“The process of fermentation offers other benefits beyond preservation. Fermented foods are easier to digest, have natural preservation properties and more available vitamins and minerals. The foods still contain live cultures that offer a boost to both the digestive tract and the immune system.”– Sarah Flessner, BS, dietetic student and Mark Kestin, PhD, MP, dean of the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science Bastyr University Natural Medicine – Fermented Food for Health
Did you know that chocolate, wine and cheese also fermented? And why those foods taste so delicious?
“Besides upping flavor, some lactic-acid ferments, such as homemade sauerkraut, actually strengthen your immune system. Pickling, brewing and culturing are other terms to describe this process by which friendly enzymes, fungi and bacteria pre-digest food. Fermentation increases the flavor, medicinal value and nutrition of foods.”– Rebecca Wood article, “Fermented Foods Strengthen Immune System”.