After years to slowly BUT surely delving into the wonderful world of fermented foods, I am delighted that I am no longer alone.
They have become quite the buzzword on the food scene amongst chefs and health food enthusiasts alike and the requests for kimchi have knocked coleslaw off the plate.
So whilst we throw words like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir around with ease, what are these foods? The science behind fermentation has a complex and confusing sound. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization describes fermentation as the “slow decomposition process of organic substances induced by micro-organisms, or by complex nitrogenous substances (enzymes) of plant or animal origin.” In the simplest terms, fermentation is the process of breaking down the carbohydrates and sugars in food to produce a lactic acid OR an alcohol. In the case of our food, it is the lactic acid we are after as it is in this process we create a predominance of lactobacillus bacteria, which moves the whole process into the realm of probiotics.
So now you get, whilst these foods nestle somewhere between fresh and rotten (what I like to refer to as funky!) it is the good bacteria (the probiotics) which are doing all the work holding them in this preserved place. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that help maintain the balance of microorganisms in our digestive tract.
Probiotics have been widely studied for treating gastrointestinal distress, but newer research suggests they can help with cancer, inflammation, autoimmune disorders and even weight loss. The research goes on with promising results so far.
Are we on the frontline of a food revolution?
Tomorrow at Bloom Garden Show in Dublin
Food matters tent @ 5pm
Join the discussion.