All cabbage and turnips. And kimchi and sauerkraut. And anything you want. Fermenting is a time-honoured method of preserving food and creating probiotic nutrients. You can find out exactly what's behind it in this blog article.
What is fermenting?
The word comes from Latin and is often translated as "fermentation". Food is transformed during fermentation with the help of various friendly microorganisms. Wild fermentation describes fermentation with the help of lactic acid bacteria that occur naturally in our food. The vegetables only need some liquid and salt for this so-called lactic acid fermentation and can then be fermented by the bacteria found on the vegetables.
What happens during fermentation?
During lactic acid fermentation, the bacteria metabolise the carbohydrates contained in the vegetables. Valuable ingredients such as lactic acid are produced. This acidity makes the vegetables more acidic and also gives them a much longer shelf life. Unwanted bacteria can only survive poorly in this acidic environment. While the lactic acid bacteria in the vegetables multiply and break down the sugars they contain, a kind of "predigestion" of the vegetables takes place. The microbes have thus taken the first step off our hands and the food is more digestible for the body after fermentation. At the same time, new flavors are created that make the ferment unique in taste.
There are countless reasons that speak for fermentation. Especially when you make your own, you get a living food full of important vitamins. We have listed just a few reasons for you:
- When you eat your fermented vegetables raw, you are also eating millions of live lactic acid bacteria. These can positively influence your health, your intestinal flora and your immune system.
- The vegetables can be kept longer. For example, you can eat summer vegetables in the winter months - delicious and practical at the same time.
- New, unique flavors are created. Each ferment always tastes slightly different due to the natural fermentation. That's what makes it so unique and special.
- Fermented foods support intestinal health. The microorganisms make the food more digestible and can contribute to improved digestion. Your intestines will thank you.
- Vitamins remain in their raw state. The vegetables are not heated during fermentation, which means that all vitamins are retained - cooking without fire.
Which vegetables are suitable?
There are countless fermented foods that you can include in your diet. In this article we will look at different types of vegetables. In principle, you can use any vegetable for fermentation.
Do you prefer your food crunchy? Then firm vegetables such as cabbage, root and tuber vegetables, celery, fennel and asparagus are suitable. Softer vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes or courgettes also work well, but become very soft through fermentation. It all depends on your taste.
Some traditional fermented vegetables, from different cultures, have also made it to prominence.
- Fermented white cabbage in sauerkraut
- Fermented pickled cucumbers as pickled gherkins
- Fermented Chinese cabbage in kimchi
See our separate blog article Fermenting Vegetables - Methods & Recipes for our tips for your fermented vegetables.
To make your experiments a success, there are special containers and utensils. In our fairment starter kit you already have everything you need to get started.
We have listed for you which utensils are important for your wild ferments:
In our glass jars you can optimally observe the fermentation process and quickly intervene if something does not go according to plan. Glass is food-safe, easy to clean and does not take on any flavors or colourings. Your fermented vegetables are therefore not negatively affected.
Do you want to use other containers? Then it is important that they are made of food-safe, acid-resistant material.
In addition, the ferments need a way to release the resulting pressure. In the process, no new oxygen must get into the glass so that the ferment does not spoil. Because this is not so easy, we have an extra fermentation system. This lets pressure out, but no oxygen in.
Lactic acid fermentation can only take place without air. Anything that sticks out of the liquid cannot be fermented and runs the risk of going mouldy. Therefore, use weights so that your vegetables stay in the liquid and continue to ferment.
We have developed the weights included in our set especially for fermenting vegetables. They have a good weight and can be grasped and removed by the handle. They can also be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. The glass is hygienic and does not take on any taste.
Let microbes run wild!
Fermented foods have a longer shelf life, are good for your gut, contain unique flavors and important vitamins. Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and co. are easy to make, healthy and delicious.
Is sauerkraut fermented?
Yes, sauerkraut consists of fermented white cabbage. You can find the recipe with our tips & tricks on the fairment blog.