What was taken for granted by previous generations is back in fashion today: fermenting food. Vegetables and dairy products will keep for longer and the intestines can benefit from the bacteria. Read how fermentation works and how it works.
Ferment milk, cabbage & co
Fermentation is a very old form of preservation and is still used in many foods today. The best-known examples include sauerkraut and dairy products such as yoghurt, sour milk and sour cream. But fermentation is also part of our everyday life in a less obvious form: the sourdough in bread is fermented flour and salami, tea, tobacco, chocolate, wine and beer would also be unthinkable without the process. During the fermentation process of food, bacteria, fungi or enzymes ensure that carbohydrates are converted. Alcohol fermentation turns sugar into ethanol, milk products such as kefir or fermented Chinese cabbage kimchi produce lactic acid. Bacteria that cause food to spoil die off in the acidic environment – their shelf life is extended. The typical sour taste and other aromas also develop.
Good bacteria top, bad hop
Since the “good” bacteria survive in fermented food, they can have a positive effect on our intestinal flora and thus on the immune system. Other effects are easier digestibility and the formation of vitamins. Reasons enough that health-conscious people have rediscovered fermentation from their grandmothers’ times. This is particularly worthwhile with vegetables: a rich garden harvest or weekly market shopping can be stored for months with the gentle preservation method and enrich your food. In addition, lactic acid bacteria are already present on the vegetables, so you do not need starter cultures such as for homemade kefir or kombucha.
It’s so easy to ferment vegetables
All you need to ferment vegetables is salt, time, and an airtight container like a jar or pot. Fill in the chopped vegetables mixed with the salt and seal the whole thing so that the lid cannot be lifted off by the fermentation gases produced. In the case of preserving jars, the clip closure ensures this, otherwise, you can put a bowl of water on it, for example. Now place the fermentation vessel in a place with a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius – not in the refrigerator! How long the process takes depends on the variety: white cabbage takes several weeks, carrots two to three days. Basically, any vegetable can be preserved in this way, from green beans to beetroot. Fermented vegetables are suitable as a side dish or ingredient in many recipes, whether with meat, in soups, or salads.