The Benefits of Freshly Fermented Farm Produce
By Jessica Dean
Preserving food through fermentation has been around as early as the 4th century BC. Being passed down from generations all around the world, first as a necessity for survival and definitely without sharing by recipe card swaps, cookbooks, or online food blogs. It’s simply amazing how our ancestors were able to come up with these perfect microbial cooking processes that are still being used internationally today to preserve the food staples we love.
Did you know that all of our coffee and chocolate go through a fermentation process prior to getting roasted? Beloved yogurt, sauerkraut, aged cheese, meat, wine, and beer are all produced using various microbes. Along with adding unique flavors to specialty dishes, fermented foods are an ideal way to preserve produce. Unlike canned goods, freshly fermented side dishes provide the live ingredients needed to balance our gut biome and overall health with the variety of probiotics they contain.
Here’s a fun fact: naturally occurring bacteria found in freshly harvested cabbage already has the key ingredient—lactobacillus (say it with me) bacteria needed to start your own sauerkraut
from scratch. The lacto-fermentation process found in the everyday production of our favorite kraut dishes is truly considered wild fermentation. During this process, these single-celled organisms are afforded a perfect environment to feed on the sugar in cabbage and produce lactic acid as a byproduct. This tasty magic that happens in preserved cabbage is an absolute
balm to our bellies.
Food preservation during the winter months can be a challenge when it comes to obtaining local and fresh produce. Cooking with microbes offers a way to preserve the abundance of a
well-earned harvest while adding extra benefits before their shelf life expires. So, in honor of our ancestors who mastered these techniques eons ago and our harvest season at the farm, we
would like to share this simple 2-ingredient recipe on fermenting. May these nutritious preservation traditions continue to be passed on for centuries to come.