Fermentation is the oldest known food preservation technique, it has existed for nearly 5000 years, (the Ancient Egyptians already used it). Set aside in recent years, it is rediscovered today as it’s full of nutritionnel benefits.
There are different types of food fermentation:
Alcoholic fermentation : it transforms the food sugar into ethyl alcohol thanks to the action of yeasts. It also produces glycerol and succinic acid, which are involved in lipid metabolism. This fermentation is commonly used with cereals and fruits to make alcoholic drinks and bread.
Lactofermentation : it consists of transforming sugars into lactic acid by the action of bacteria (Lactococcus, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus). It’s at the origin of yogurts, cheeses, charcuterie and vegetables (cabbage, carrot, parsnip, beet, cucumber, pickle, onion).
WHAT ARE FERMENTATION’S BENEFITS?
The fermentation is therefore carried out by means of microorganisms naturally present in the food or added voluntarily in order to improve the conservation, but also the food’s nutritive and digestible benefits : for example, vitamin C naturally contained in cabbage almost double during the fermentation process. Soy isoflavones, well known for their role in bone metabolism, triple through fermentation.
The fermentation also acidifies the food, which makes the minerals more soluble and facilitates their assimilation.
It also improves the digestibility of food by strengthening the intestinal flora – the microorganisms can colonize the intestine and renew the bacterias’ flora in order to improve the assimilation of carbohydrates and proteins.
Fermented food also produces antimicrobial agents, such as lactic acid and bacteriocins, which facilitate the inhibition or elimination of pathogenic bacteria. This is why this technique has got such conservative power.
Much less commercialized today in Western countries, some fermented products are quite complicated to find in supermarkets. None the less, these foods are easy to prepare at home, It only requires time to let the fermentation process work.
Here are some easy recipes …
Ingredients for 1 kg of red beets
- 1 kg of peeled red beets
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 grains of black pepper
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 75 cl of water brought to boiling and then cooled
- 1 tablespoon salt
Method of preparation ( preparation: 30 minutes / Fermentation: 14 days)
Cut the beets into large quarters and remove the hard ends if necessary. Put them in a large jar or in two smaller jars. Add the garlic cloves (2 per jar), the peppercorns and the bay leaves. Pour the salt in cold water (after bringing it to a boil) and stir until salt is completely dissolved. Then pour over the beets (they must be completely immersed).
Close the jars and leave them at room temperature for a few days until foam forms on top (the time will depend on the temperature of your room). Once there is foam, place the pots in a cool place (about 10 ° C) away from light for 2 or 3 days. Your red beets will then be fermented; From this point, keep them in the refrigerator.
Spicy fermented cabbage: KIMCHI
The Kimchi is the basic dish of Korean cuisine. There are different kinds of Kimchi (fermented cabbage with spices) and different preparations with various sauces.
Preparation time: 30 minutes / Fermentation time: 4-5 days
- 2 kg of Chinese cabbage
- 2 leeks
- 1/2 long turnip
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of freshly grated fresh ginger
- 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped red pepper (or 3 red peppers)
- 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 100 to 160g of coarse salt
Cut the cabbage in strips lengthwise and put it in a salad bowl filled with warm tepid water. Sprinkle the cabbage with coarse salt (to be placed between each leaf). Leave to rest and disgorge overnight. The next day, rinse the cabbage slices with water and drain them.
In another salad bowl : cut the turnip and the leeks into thin slices of about 5 cm. Mix the ingredients to make the spires paste : ginger, red pepper, garlic, sugar and fish sauce. It is necessary to peel or grate in order to make the dough. Spread this paste on the cabbage leaves.
Place the cabbage in a large container. Sprinkle with some toasted sesame. Place a lid or plate on top of the container, or close it tightly. Now it takes 4 to 5 days for the kimchi to be ready.
Yogurt without yoghurt-maker
You can use animal milk as well as soy milk or coconut milk. The other vegetable milks are more complicated to use because they do not coagulate well, you should then add to your preparation agar agar to get a texture close to yoghurt.
To add smoothness to your yoghurt you can add 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk powder to your milk. You can find the lactic acid bacteria in pharmacies or supermarkets. You can also use a yoghurt. It should be noted that the ferments develop ideally at a temperature close to 30-40 ° C so it is important to incorporate them in a warm milk (if it’s too hot it would destroy the bacteria). Mix the milk and the ferments with a wooden spoon or spatula (metal is not recommended). You can add a little sugar to your milk + ferments mixture because sugar activates the development of lactic acid bacteria. Place your preparation in small glass jars. Heat the oven to 45 ° with water in a rather high dish, then turn off the oven. Place your pots in the center of this “bain-marie”and bake for 6 hours (keeping the door closed).
I hope you’ve liked this article!
Next Monday, Emilie will take you to Japan to meet a lovely family of five.
Have a wonderful week,