Okay so I know some of you know what this is and some of you are probably thinking ‘lacto-what?’
I can say sauerkraut and people should understand what I mean by fermented vegetables. I believe most people think that fermentation is only for fruit and grain, like wine and beer. It’s a lot more than that. Even breads (sourdough) and drinks (kombucha, kefir, water kefir, buttermilk) are cultured and fermented. Also yogurt, sour cream, cheese, etc. Why do people ferment foods?
- Repopulating good gut bacteria
- Pre-digesting food to make it easier for delicate digestive systems to add enzymes that help break down other food being consumed
- Long-term storage
- To make foods that are normally unable to be digested (like milk to those who are lactose intolerant) easy to digest
- To increase the vitamin content of the food being eaten
- It’s fun
- It tastes good (food can be more sour or tangy after fermenting)
- A cheap hobby
When we first kicked drinking soda several years ago, my wife decided to make a fun, fizzy drink for the kids. We tried making milk kefir first, which was a big adjustment. We hadn’t heard of water kefir yet. However she saw a tutorial online and from a few slivers of root ginger, water, and some sugar she made a healthful fizzy drink for our family that she flavored with fresh strawberry puree. When winter came around she hid elderberry syrup in the fizzy fermented beverage (that batch of syrup was a bit experimental and not too popular with the kids). I get the impression from my readings that in most places in Europe fermentation is not the lost art that it is here in the States. Through our rapid commercial expansion there have been a lot of traditions lost and sometimes I feel like America no longer really has a culture. My wife must feel the same way because she’s always cooking something from India, France, the Middle East, or just about anywhere but here. Maybe it’s just her way of travelling without leaving the farm. 😉 I’d like to heartily recommend that everyone who reads this try a little something new today. A spoonful of homemade sauerkraut with your dinner could do wonders for your digestion. A few sips of lacto-fermented soda could help you drop that corn syrup laden health nightmare. I’ve got some recommended reading if you’re interested in learning more, just scroll past the videos. These are three books that are absolutely invaluable to me:
The Self-Sufficient Life (and how to live it)
And as for how to make that awesome lacto fermented soda my wife makes? Here’s the video that first taught her how.