Having recently posted the Kim Chi - Fermented Veggies Recipe as an abundant source of probiotics. I've decided to include some additional fermented foods recipes from around the world. Naturally fermented foods are high in beneficial flora, commonly called probiotics. Having a balanced gut microbiome is a crucial part of strong immunity.
The most important factor with probiotics is that they must survive the stomach acids. Capsule supplementation may be needed for some individuals, but to get enteric coated (An enteric coating is a polymer barrier applied on oral medication that prevents its dissolution or disintegration in the gastric environment.) probiotic is expensive. For most of us and those who are ill, a natural source of probiotics is preferable even when you are taking an oral supplement. Why? Because the probiotics that naturally form in fermented foods carry with them micro-nutrients and beneficial bacteria beyond what can be cultivated in a lab. They are a natural food to humans, in that we have been eating many forms of fermented foods and drinks for thousands of years. Our bodies "know" these foods.
Kefir for example, like it's cousin yogurt, is rich in probiotics, which due to the fat molecules in milk, are able to make it past the stomach into the small intestine. Fermented vegetables offer a similar protection for it's probiotics, in that the vegetable cells have become infused with the beneficial flora. This encasing within the cells walls give it viability in the small intestine.
Kefir is unique in it's ability to lay down a nesting network for beneficial flora to reproduce in, an incubator, if you will. I like to stay with goat's or sheep's milk, as these are lighter in fat and have smaller protein molecules than cow's milk, making them easier to digest. For my fermented dairy I prefer grass fed, no hormones.
Other fermented foods are Yogurt, Kombucha, Miso, Apple Cider Vinegar. See the recipe links below.
noun: kombucha; plural noun: kombuchas
a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria."bottled kombucha is available in many natural food stores"
Fermetaholics brings us these step by step instructions for making your own home brew of Kombucha - How to Brew Kombucha . Additionally they also sell supplies and starter scoby.
It's important to have a well balanced scoby for a starter. Kombucha is a "wild ferment' meaning it can pick up bacteria from the environment it ferments in. A good healthy scoby is like sour dough starter is to bread making.
The Kitchn defines the scoby as ......
an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. ...the scoby is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. It a rubbery raft that floats on the surface of the kombuchas.
Go their website by following the link for another great kombucha recipe.
kefir | kəˈfir | A Russian word for a sour-tasting drink make from milk fermented with certain bacteria.
Kefir has a more liquid texture than yogurt and contains different strains of bacteria.
I found this great recipe on "The Pioneer Woman" website. "Make Milk Kefir"
Cultures for Health offer this great recipe using almond milk for those who prefer non-dairy options. You may also substitute other nut or seeds milks. How to Make Almond Milk Kefir
yogurt | ˈyōɡərt | (also yoghurt or yoghourt) A Turkish word for a semisolid sourish food prepared from milk fermented by added bacteria, often sweetened and flavored.
Wellness Mama, a site I have loved sharing in the past has a great yogurt making recipe, which has a printable version.
How to Make Yogurt (Easy Homemade Recipe)
Most of us have heard about raw apple cider vinegar's numerous health benefits, such as it stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach aiding digestion. ACV helps alkalinize the body, reducing toxic over acid conditions of the blood which helps with conditions like gout. It's a natural anti-microbial reducing infections and promoting healthy gut flora. Also a great peel for your facial skin, or as an after bath rinse to recharge the acid ph balance of your skin. But, it also tastes great and can be added to many recipes.
Tales of the Kitchen offers this recipe.
"Homemade Raw Apple Cider Vinegar"
miso | ˈmēsō |
1 paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt, used in Japanese cooking.
2 (also miso soup) a soup seasoned with miso paste, often with added tofu or vegetables: a bowl of piping hot miso.
Miso is a BIG subject from a small country, Japan. Learn more about Miso
Made from a wide variety of beans or grains with an equally wide variety of flavors.
I found this delightful website "The Chopstick Chronicles", Whose miso recipe is simple and straight forward. Shihoko is a native of Japan, now living in Australia, whose passion for Japanese foods abounds in her website!
It's time to get back to a more natural way of eating. Fermenting is a way of preserving foods that has been around for 1,000's of years. Fermented foods are found in every culture. We have only scratched the surface in this blog. Other fermented foods include sour doughs, tea varieties, vinegars made from other fruit juices, unpasteurized beers and low alcohol ciders are just some of the examples to be found. Please post your successes with pictures in the comments portion of the blog.
For an overview of the importance of fermented foods and gut health see this article from the folks at the Good Gut,
"Can Probiotics Survive Stomach Acid and the GI Tract?"
Passing on my experience with natural foods and sharing recipes from others as well.