When it comes to food trends, fermenting has been very much in vogue the last few years. There are a lot of varieties out there to tempt your taste buds and it is the perfect way to put your spare crops to good use.
‘It’s a great way to serve up the local harvest long after the growing season’
Kimchee, sauerkraut, dosas and kvass are all pretty easy to make and can add a certain boldness to dishes which may otherwise be left to fester on the spread at the last of your summer BBQ’s.
They also give you the bonus of impressing your guests with your cultural knowledge of global food delicacies.
It is not just the added flavour that gets self proclaimed foodies trying out the latest fermenting styles; the health benefits have long sent health conscious individuals into an air-locked frenzy.
The aptly named ‘good’ bacteria in fermented foods help maintain a healthy weight, immune system and mental wellbeing. When routinely present, they improve digestion, regulate electrolytes and remove toxins within our gut. The medical profession seem to be missing a vital addition to their prescribing formularies here with beneficial effects on diabetes, obesity, skin pathologies and reduced rates of cancer being well documented in medical literature.
Although fairly late to the fermenting party; having only been introduced to the art in 2016 whilst at Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala, it by no means indicates a lack of experience. Whatever green, red, fluorescent leafy gem of goodness you can think of, the more colourful the better, you can bet I’ve tried fermenting it. Korean kimchee has become a staple in salads and kefir can act as a welcome alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
For those adventurous connoisseurs who perspire at the prospect of home fermentation here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learnt….
- Be adventurous. Green papaya and garbanzo beans both make a great kimchee, it’s not all about cabbage.
- Little and often is key. Going full steam ahead and ladening your plate full of fermented food can be just as bad for the gut as skipping it altogether. Start slow, have a small amount of fermented goods with each meal to let your gut flora adjust and prevent unwanted bloating.
- Use fermented soya beans as seasoning for soups and stews instead of salt.
- Experiment with kombucha flavours. Chia seeds add a new dimension to the texture and give you even more protein.