Fermentation techniques were originally invented out of necessity, as a clever way to preserve food past its useful “fresh” life. With the advent of modern refrigeration, global shipping and year-round harvesting of crops, this age-old preservation method was all-but pushed aside. We believe it’s worth reviving this wonderful tradition, for many reasons…
It’s Good for You!
The more we learn about the importance of our gut health, the more en vogue and sense it makes to eat fermented foods! They contain, after all, the original probiotics. The living bacteria involved in the fermentation process create enzymes and add vitamins to the food. They promote a healthy digestive system by supplementing and assisting the good bacteria in our gut flora– the trillions of symbiotic microbes who live in our digestive system.
Most fermented foods are actually more nutritious after fermentation than before! The beneficial microbes create new substances (aka “post-biotics”) like vitamins (B and C), digestive enzymes, and amino acids, all which are healthy for us.
You get big benefits from enjoying just a small amount. Fermented foods are powerful and pack a punch!
Most vegetable ferments take just a few minutes to prepare. If you can mix salt into water, you’re halfway there! And most fermentation happens at room temperature, so generally speaking, no specialized equipment or tools are needed. During the fermentation period (which can be from 3 days to 6 months or more), some simple maintenance is recommended to ensure that your ferments stay clean. Otherwise, Nature takes care of the rest!
The waiting is the hardest part! –Tom Petty (RIP)
There are no known cases of someone actually dying from eating bad fermented veggies. As long as you Trust Your Senses, you will stay safe (i.e. if something makes you gag when you hold it up to your face, don’t override your senses)! In the small chance that something does go wrong, bad ferments can simply be tossed out or composted (in fact, fermentation and composting are practically the same thing!)
DIY fermenting is one of the most inexpensive and natural ways to eat healthily. Fermenting food requires no special equipment and no electricity. It’s bio-powered! You can start with just a few basic ingredients and items you probably already have in your kitchen: a wide-mouthed glass, ceramic or (food-grade) plastic container, a plate, a dish towel, and kosher or sea salt.
One of the best ways to save money is to ferment seasonal produce at the end of a growing season, when it’s most abundant, and when farmers and grocers lower their prices to sell their bumper crops!
We recommend using seasonal (when a food is most abundant), organic (pesticide residues can slow or halt the growth of good bacteria), and locally-grown (smaller carbon footprint, and tastes better!) foods whenever possible.
By using recycled materials such as bottles and jars, and by making versus buying your own fermented food, you’re reducing your carbon footprint (less water and glass, two relatively heavy things, are being shipped, reducing fuel used).
Okay, 2 more bonus reasons!
If you’re like me, you probably have romantic notions of an agrarian utopia, a time before the industrialization of food. Up until our grandparents’ generation, traditions like fermentation were simply the way of life. Fermentation techniques can be found in just about every human culture that’s ever existed. Personally I think it’s a good idea to listen to the the thousands of years of wisdom our elders accumulated and hoped to pass down to us. I like that fermentation allows us to stay connected to our past through our hearts, our minds, and our guts.
It Builds Community
Fermenting and sharing fermented foods with our friends and neighbors helps bring communities together, and connects us to our ancestors who used these techniques for millennia! That’s what Fermenters Club is all about– teaching you how to ferment food at home, and to create communities connected through our gut.
Because it takes roughly the same amount of time to ferment a large batch as a small batch, you may as well make a lot! You’ll often find you have enough to share with neighbors and friends! What better way to create community than through the sharing of food?