Wednesday, October 1, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fun, flavorful fermented foods

By
From page A6 | May 18, 2014 |

By Eric Christensen
Creators.com

Many Americans can be uncomfortable with the idea of fermented food. The reasons differ — some say they are turned off by notion of bacteria in their food, while others are uncomfortable with foods they suspect will taste sour, rotten or spoiled. But the reality is quite different: Adding fermented foods to your diet is good for your palette, your body and your pocketbook. They are quite common around the world and come in a variety of flavors.

Fermentation is the process of converting sugars to acids, gases or alcohol through use of yeast or bacteria. Odds are, fermented foods (or foods that take advantage of fermentation as part of the cooking process) are already part of your diet. Jenny McGruther, food educator and author of “Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle” and the website of Nourished Kitchen, says, “Cheese, bread, yogurt, miso, chocolate, wine, beer and kefir are all foods that we commonly consume in which fermentation has played a role.” Sandor Katz, author of “The Art of Fermentation” and the Wild Fermentation website, also adds coffee, tea, cured meats, olives, soy sauce, fish sauce, sauerkraut and kimchi to that list.

Fermentation is one of the oldest food preparations known to man, dating back to the Stone Age. Katz explains, “Sauerkraut and kimchi, and all the other variations of fermented vegetables, really are strategies for preserving the harvest to feed people through the rest of the year and deliver to them essential plant-based nutrients that would be otherwise unavailable. So fermentation equals survival in many parts of the world.” Similarly, fermentation was used to extend the usable life of milk and meat before refrigeration. Accordingly, fermented foods can still be found in cuisines around the world.

But fermentation is not simply about helping foods last longer. There are several nutritional benefits that result from fermentation. McGruther explains, fermentation releases “various acids and B vitamins like folate and B-12. … Fermented foods are higher in various micronutrients than their raw counterparts. … Consuming fermented foods also means that you’re consuming beneficial bacteria, which help to populate the digestive tract.” Folates are extremely beneficial to women who are considering getting pregnant. And fermented foods naturally contain the same types of beneficial bacteria that are now added to several products to make them healthier.

Many grocery stores now carry a variety of fermented foods, both traditional and exotic, including fermented fruit drinks like kombucha and kvass. But if you would like to try making some fermented foods at home, it is quite easy and inexpensive. Katz suggests starting with fermented vegetables. “You don’t need any special equipment or starter cultures. You can just use any jar in your kitchen. And it’s intrinsically safe: there has never been a documented case of food poisoning in the United States from fermented vegetables, according to the USDA.” Katz says, “All you do is chop up vegetables, lightly salt them or season them and spend a couple of minutes squeezing or pounding them to start breaking down cell walls. The objective is that when you stuff them into a jar, you submerge them in their own juices.”

If you have previously tried sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables and didn’t like them, Katz reminds readers that fermentation changes the texture and taste of the vegetables. Lightly fermented vegetables will be crunchier and milder in flavor, but days later the fermented vegetables will be softer in texture and have a stronger taste. “Let your vegetables ferment for few days at room temperature. After three to four days, refrigerate and start tasting them at intervals to familiarize yourself with the spectrum of flavors.”

Alternatively, McGruther suggests making your own yogurt. She says, “You simply need to whisk one-quarter cup of plain yogurt into one quart of milk and let it sit in a warm place in your kitchen for 8 to 12 hours. Then reserve one-quarter cup of that yogurt to make a future batch.”

Fermented foods are healthy, inexpensive and a great way to introduce umami flavors into your diet. McGruther says, “Venturing into food fermentation can be challenging or it can seem exotic, but it’s very easy to begin.” Try a few new foods and you’ll see there’s nothing to be uncomfortable about or fear.

Comments

comments

Creators Syndicate

.

News

Jury: Marsh legally sane during murders

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Undocumented Student Center offers help to immigrants

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Rairdan supports more inquiry-based learning

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Standing In: Don’t write? I may as well stop breathing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
Woodland man convicted in domestic violence case

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Apply soon to be a Master Gardener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Katehi will address Rotarians on Monday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Mondavi Center hosts all-star lineup of classical, jazz, dance and more

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C3 | Gallery

Willett students sensitized to those who are different

By Maria Clayton | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Friends of the Library host biggest book sale of the year

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

‘Edible City’ discussion planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
TSA bomb training may be noisy

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

AIM testing dates set this fall, winter

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

 
Tour Honey Bee Haven on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Woodland City Cemetery tours planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
 
‘ADHD — Myth or Reality’ addressed at UCD talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quotes from the Marsh double-murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
UCD athletics have break-from-work entertainment for everyone

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: C5 | Gallery

Quad abuzz with students

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Wetlands visitors may see ducks arriving

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Boy Scouts host family event in park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
How did the Aggies get their name?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C12

.

Forum

Hey, it’s free childcare …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Will you open your heart, and your home?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
The right vote for education

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Just what Davis schools need

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Nolan’s a calm voice of reason

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS girls tennis team tames Lions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devil girls play dynamite pool defense

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis volleyballers finish strong at Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Hard-working Blue Devil boys get a water polo win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s fall as AL wild-card game lives up to its name

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Legacy roundup: Milliennium takes Manteca tournament

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

AYSO roundup: Beans, Capay can’t shake each other in U19 play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Alliance roundup: Los Azules, Italia win tourneys

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Real Salt Lake has too much for Republic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

From the ground up: Rediscovering classic cheesecake

By Ann Evans | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Leonard D. Blackford

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A8