One of my new years resolutions (not something I normally partake in) was to 'get into' fermenting, and anyone who has visited my recently may have noticed that my living room is testament to the fact that I have stuck to it! Having said that, it is only April, so I'll try not to get too carried away with the back patting. But the point is, it hasn't been a chore, it's been an absolute joy. It is probably my new favourite thing. Why am I writing about it on here? well, the health benefits. More and more people are talking about the connection between gut health and a vast range of other conditions, mostly chronic. There is even something called the 'gut brain axis', which explains how gut health can have a dramatic impact on our mood, you can read about it here:
Fermenting has been around for donkeys in other cultures, from Kimchi to nato, sauerkraut and lassi, but we haven't been so big on it over here in the U.K. Or have we? It's really no different to eating yogurt with live cultures, and we all know booze is fermented.
The problem is, fermented food has become very 'trendy' of late. It's as if it's just grown a beard and got some tight trousers and a few tattoos and now we all want to talk to it. My advice is, don't be out off by that. Or the fact that it can be a little scary that first time you put something in your mouth that has been hanging around on your sideboard out of the fridge for three weeks. It goes against everything you feel you should be doing with food. But as long as you follow some basic rules, such as can be found here:
you don't have to worry. It's pretty easy to spot when a culture has gone bad. I had one disaster in the early stages involving beetroot, but since switching to fermenting with a sealed lid instead of cloth and it's all been fine since. The most important thing other than sterilizing your jars is making sure the veggies or fruits stay underneath the fermenting fluid. You can buy various tools such as pebbles and weights for this, but I have found wedging a large cabbage leaf in the top of the jar to be perfectly adequate.
So that's good then. Happy insides happy outsides or whatever. But does it taste any good?
It tastes SO good. If you like that sort of thing. My recent jar of fermented radishes with onions and garlic is plain dreamy. I won't be going back to buying pickles in vinegar again, the flavour of lactoferments (not a word) is far superior, and you have the happy gut fauna to boot. Not only that, but they have replaced all the shop bought condiments I used to use to liven up a meal, things like mayo, brown sauce and ketchup that are full of saturated fat or sugar. So there you are, have a go, ferment something.