Do it yourself fermented beverages and food have now gone mainstream. The latest copy of the Williams Sonoma catalog arrived at my home this week, and I was shocked to see that they have a DIY Kombucha kit, as well as a vegetable fermentation pot available by catalog. Clearly, this indicates the growing number of people who see the value and health benefits of adding fermented products to their modern diets.
The process of fermentation makes foods more digestible. For example, it breaks down the gluten, lectins, and phytates in fermented sour dough bread, as well as the lactose in fermented dairy products. This doesn’t make sour dough bread or cultured dairy Paleo, but it was how our ancestors ate once they started farming and got away from solely hunting and gathering. Eating more like how our ancestors prior to the introduction of boxed and shelved foods is always an improvement to what people are eating today.
Incorporating fermented foods into our diet is one of the best ways to get healthy probiotics into our bodies. This healthy bacteria not only improves digestion, but also makes the nutrients in foods more bioavailable. It has even been shown to reduce the number of cavities in children. Getting probiotics from food is always preferable to getting them from a pill. The number of probiotics in homemade or small batch fermented foods is much higher and better for you than what’s available in pastuerized, homogenized store bought yogurt.
Fermenting food and drink can be intimidating for those trying it for the first time. The process is easy to learn and can be quickly mastered, especially with the ability to purchase a complete DIY kit. Give it a try yourself. I’m working on making a fermented ketchup. I’ll let you know how it goes.