5 Reasons to Prepare Your Own Fermented Food


| 6/25/2018 5:11:00 PM


various ferments
Various fermented foods. Photo by Daniela Roberts.

You may not realize just how many fermented foods you regularly eat. All sorts of delicious foods undergo fermentation at some point in their preparation: sourdough bread, cheese, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, dill pickles, beer, wine, vinegar, chocolate, coffee, tea...all the good stuff.

Perhaps you need no reasons to ferment food yourself other than the fact that it tastes absolutely delicious. But this ancient method of food preparation has been undergoing a renaissance of late for many reasons in addition to flavor.

1. Food preservation not food waste. Who hasn’t—with the best intentions—bought too many vegetables? If you have a cabbage on hand that you need to use up quickly for example, simply chop it, salt it and submerge it in its own juices for a few days. Your resulting probiotic-rich sauerkraut will keep for many months.

How does that transformation happen seemingly by magic? Immersed in liquid, the anaerobic lactic-acid bacteria present on the cabbage eat its sugars and produce lactic acid, which ferments and preserves the food. These acids not only give sauerkraut its tangy flavor, they also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. As a result, fermentation is very safe.



Before the introductions of refrigeration and chemical preservatives last century and canning a century before that, people fermented or dehydrated food to preserve it. This was especially important in cold climates with short growing seasons. People could enjoy vegetables throughout the winter by fermenting them at the end of the summer. Cold weather slows down the fermentation, preserving the food longer, making this method a perfect, seasonal and natural fit in these parts of the world.