After the seasonal struggle to harvest, the traditional struggle with the harvest begins. It is physically impossible to eat all of this quickly and it is no longer suitable. Relatives also provided us with food.
Various recipes are rolled up in jars and the refrigerator is not foolproof. And here comes some unassuming little helpers: bacteria, which not only preserve the excesses of our harvest but also greatly increase their useful properties.
I will tell you in that article anout fermentation. Why it is useful for fermentation, and how to do it properly.
BACTERIA ARE OUR FRIENDS
After years of persecution and harassment by antibiotics, finally, humans have woken up and started to cultivate and consume bacteria in every possible way. For example, in the form of probiotics.
Again, by picking out some and ignoring others that are sort of less useful. That is, we still think we’re smarter than nature and know better what’s good and what’s bad.
Meanwhile, a less sophisticated part of the population makes and uses the most natural probiotics that have centuries of tradition, full of friendly bacteria, vitamins, and many other good things, without taking into account the scientific confirmation of their usefulness.
For example, kimchi with Koreans, or toast with Caucasians (not only them but also many near-Mediterranean people like toast). In general, many countries make fermented for a long time.
HOW TO FERMENT PROPERLY
It is clear that science has finally reached the process of fermentation, dissecting it, breaking it down into its components, and explaining at the level of modern research why certain rules must be followed to get a tasty and useful product.
The lactic fermentation process is provided by the group of microorganisms located on the surface of the torn vegetable, leaf, berry, or fruit. That’s why popular recipes recommend washing them all in spring water – the microorganisms don’t die.
However, chlorinated water can significantly reduce their numbers, and the process can take place in the wrong places.
For example, there is a wide variety of microorganisms on cucumbers, and not all of them are beneficial: saprophytic and oily bacteria can completely destroy the flavor of the pickle.
But they can only multiply if they have access to oxygen. Soaking cucumbers in water for 8 hours can greatly exercise their ambition.
Salt does not act as a preservative in the pickling process, it flows out substances dissolved in the juice of the plant cells – including sugars, which are transferred to the brine and provide food for the hungry bacterial population living there.
In addition, even a salt concentration of 2.2% will limit the activity of spoilage bacteria. However, concentrations higher than 2.5% can affect the taste of ready-pickled vegetables.
Exactly brine (liquid) is the basis for the rapid development of lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria need lack oxygen, so when the product is immersed in brine, the process of accumulation of lactic acid and inhibition of unwanted bacterial activity proceeds correctly.
There is room for creativity: if, for example, cabbage is pickled in the “dry” method, then up to the moment it is covered with brine, microorganisms that need oxygen to multiply develop, producing formic acid, acetic acid, succinic acid, carbon dioxide and many other things that give cabbage its absolutely special taste.
But they can’t be left alone, and if you don’t stop them, the cabbage will rot. You have to soak the cabbage in brine and pierce it with chopsticks to remove the accumulated carbon dioxide.
Wet pickled cabbage, i.e. covered with brine from the beginning, mostly works with lactic acid bacteria, which have a softer texture and somewhat different structure.
At different stages of pickling, different types of lactic acid bacteria play their role, producing lactic acid, carbon dioxide, acetic acid, ethanol, ether, etc., which form the flavor.
This stabilizes and additionally accumulates vitamin C. Pickled cabbage, for example, contains almost 1.4 times more vitamin C than fresh cabbage.
Lowering the temperature (in the refrigerator, basement, or cellar), together with the accumulated acidity, stops the bacteria from multiplying, and further processes are still going on, but very weakly.
Since pickling is a “living product”, useful substances are lost during long-term storage.
ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF FERMENTED FOODS
Not only are they delicious, but they have a wide range of health benefits! When fermented foods retain all the useful substances of the original product and even add new ones – such as amino acids, vitamins B and K2 produced by microorganisms (which retain calcium in the bones and prevent its deposition in the muscles).
The process of breaking down indigestible elements is partially undertaken by bacteria, which leads to better absorption of iron and calcium, proteins and carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. (biochemical names are difficult to pronounce).
Live microorganisms support and restore the intestinal microflora and activate the immune system.
Fermented foods contain enzymes that help cleanse the intestinal wall.
DELICIOUS FERMENTED RECIPES
Shred the vegetables, crush the garlic, crush the parsley and chop the tomatoes in a blender or grinder. Put cabbage in the bottom of an enameled pot, followed by carrots, bok choy, yams, peppers, beets, garlic, and tomatoes.
Pour off all the brine, put on the chenille, and leave it in a warm place for 3 days. Poke with a stick twice a day to remove any carbon dioxide that has accumulated.
After three days it will be ready to taste, but it is better to put it in a glass jar so that everything is covered with brine and put it in the refrigerator for a week.
Since we can’t use vegetables with kimchi but have to because there’s a lot of useful stuff in kimchi, I make it all into a smoothie – I throw everything into a blender, grind it up and blend it with the kimchi.
This variation is great for digestion for older relatives who can’t chew fermented vegetables and need probiotics and some processed fiber. And this drink is really good in the post-holiday days!
The above list of ingredients is what I have in my fridge right now, just an example of how different the combinations of vegetables can be. Yams because I have them. It works well with butternut squash, blanched string beans, roasted eggplant, radishes, and sour apples. Everyone can create their own recipes!
Generally, cabbage is put raw except for cauliflower and broccoli. You can also put carrots, squash, turnips, radishes, beets, sweet bitter peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, fruits or berries, and garlic raw.
Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, pod stalks, and garden horseradish are pre-blossomed.
Eggplant is pre-roasted. Peppers are sometimes roasted.
I’ve never heard of using yams to sour them, but I’ve tried adding oranges to sweeten them and haven’t regretted it. You can also try souring tender yam sprouts, but they also need to be blanched.
Someone mentioned sauteed pineapple, so you could easily add those as well.
You could also add spices to the dulce de leche. I don’t think it’s necessary yet because the flavors are so rich now. Tosa is a vast field of creative experimentation.
You can usually acid it in a healthy way! The New Year holidays are coming up, so you should support digestion, and smoothies made with fermentation will be very popular.