What is fermented food and drink?
Fermented food is food which has been partially broken down by active enzymes (such as those found in yeast and bacteria), causing desirable changes to the organic matter. This process can be used for improving taste, increasing shelf life, or heightening the nutritional value of different foods.
One of primary uses for fermentation is its encouragement prebiotic and probiotic development, aiding significantly with gut health (see more below!).
How are fermented goods made?
Fermented foods are foods which have undergone controlled microbial growth, meaning that microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast were added to the fresh foods left to interact within a contained environment. Over time, these microorganisms (or starter cultures) break down the larger food components into other products, such as alcohol, and encourage additional nutritional development, such as probiotic growth.
While this may sound overwhelmingly scientific, it is actually a very simple process involving a basic few steps: from selecting your vegetables and containers, preparing your vegetables, and selecting your starter cultures, to mixing the brine, pouring it all into the containers, and allowing the culturing process to naturally occur – you pretty much have the whole process right here!
…want to know a fun fact?
Any vegetable can be fermented, and flavours can be experimented with, through adding different herbs, spices and other extras to the fermentation brew!
The health benefits of fermentation:
Because fermented foods are already partially broken down, the body can absorb more of their nutritional and mineral content. Fermented foods are also rich in probiotics and prebiotics, meaning that they help to nurture a balanced and thriving gut environment.
Gut health impacts everything in the body, and so fermented foods provide a powerful way to aid in smooth digestion (often assisting with issues such as IBS), boost the immune system, and even influence positive mental health!
Additional research has indicated that fermented produce can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity and inflammation, among the vast range of other potential health benefits.
It is important to remember that the differing health benefits of fermented foods may be dependant on the type of fermented food used, alongside the microorganism involved in the process.
P.s. wondering what a prebiotic is? A prebiotic is the component of food that feeds good bacteria living within the gut, stimulating further probiotic growth.
What’s The Deal With Sauerkraut?
While made from the humble cabbage (sauerkraut literally means ‘sour cabbage’), sauerkraut is packed with nutrients and probiotics, offering a delicious way to add that extra healthy punch to your daily diet!
Because Sauerkraut is a fermented food it is filled with beneficial bacteria (see more about the benefits of these in ‘The Health Benefits of Fermentation’ above), alongside vitamin C, B6 and K, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other minerals.
Tasty served as a side, salsa, sandwich topping, or salad/stir-fry ingredient, sauerkraut can be used in many different dishes, making it a particularly good item to add to your fridge.
…and not to toot our own horn, but Knosh’s sauerkraut range offers you a whole selection of flavour choices, including turmeric and ginger, kimchi, and Caraway!
Taking Fermentation To The Next Level!
Similar to sauerkraut, fermented vegetables refer to any vegetable varieties that undergo a fermentation process. Fermented foods really bring so much nutrition to your diet (particularly given that more and more research showcases the link between gut health and mental health), but one does not want to eat the same flavour every day!
Fermenting different vegetables offers you a way to tick off all those daily intake goals, while still allowing diversity and change in your diet. Knosh offers a whole range of fermented veg products, from mix veg options, to beetroot, carrot, and many more.
That’s the best part really – any and all veggies can be fermented!