So much fermentation in my kitchen! How come?
Old digestive systems grow a bit cranky and tender. And it’s so irritating when you realise you can’t handle quite as much coffee as in your wild and wicked years of youth. But that’s not why my kitchen has gradually become a bacteria brewery.
For years I’ve eaten various fermented foods, including yoghurt, sauerkraut, cheese, wine, umeboshi, and miso. Now that science is demonstrating their many benefits, I’ve started making my own. It’s kind of fun, and I only do the easy ones. I began with sour plum concentrate and then kombucha to control a lifelong acid reflux problem: beats medication hands down.
- Sauerkraut is working away in that blue and gold bowl under a bag of water. This one is from red cabbage. Great with Hunter sausage and boiled new potatoes.
- Kombucha (fermented tea) is brewing in the pottery jar topped with a dish cloth, and another batch is having its second brew in bottles: I added lemon and ginger this time for flavour and to create more fizz.
- Yoghurt? Home made is best but it’s far too tricky, so I make yoghurt from a packet.
King Kefir: best of all fermented foods is the easiest to make at home
I make kefir from skim milk with added calcium, adding a dash of cream to thicken it up. But you really can’t go wrong. The long-suffering kefir starter grains are hiding in their own slimy milk in the smaller jar, ready to work on the next batch. Kefir on porridge, kefir smoothies — anything yoghurt does, kefir does better.
Fermented foods are yummy but what work do they do?
You’ll find heaps of research on the subject in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, if you’re interested. For older people, the benefits may or may not include the following:
- may help digestion
- may prevent acid reflux
- may moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms — one small study so far suggests this
- may help with depression
- may help to control diabetes.
And who knows what else? The mysterious, pervasive, holistic function of our microbiota is a hot new playground for scientific researchers in numerous fields.
More information from trusted sources about fermented foods
- Inclusion of fermented foods in food guides around the world, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health — survey of research
- The truth about fermented foods, Healthy Food Guide, New Zealand
- Small study suggests positive effect of probiotics on Alzheimer’s patients US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health