Fermented foods are the new trend star in the foodie sky. Yet fermentation is not really all that new, but rather a centuries-old tradition of preserving food. But that’s not the only advantage: Kimchi, Kombucha and other fermented foods ensure a healthy intestinal flora and strengthen the immune system.
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How this works and which foods you can ferment yourself at home is explained here.
Lactic acid fermentation: How to preserve food
Fermentation (also fermentation) is in principle nothing else than a kind of natural fermentation process with the help of bacteria, yeasts or moulds. These are either added as “starter kits” or are already in or on the food.
Making sauerkraut yourself is worthwhile – even if you need a lot of patience © Kiian-Oksana / Shutterstock.com
Take sauerkraut, for example: Lactic acid bacteria live on some vegetables, such as white cabbage. If the food is now cut up, salted and sealed airtight, the bacteria begin to decompose the sugar molecules of the vegetables all by themselves and convert them into lactic acid. This lowers the pH value and creates an acidic environment that prevents the formation of mould. The fermentation process “pre-digests” the vegetables.
As a result, it is ultimately easier for you to digest and also has a longer shelf life.
But not only sauerkraut is a classic fermented food. Tea, soy sauce, cheese and salami are also fermented.
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The special thing about lactic acid pickled foods are the lactic acid bacteria mentioned. They are considered probiotics and keep the intestines healthy, support digestion and strengthen the entire digestive tract.
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A healthy intestine is an important prerequisite for a functioning metabolism and the absorption of all important nutrients. It is the part of the body responsible for absorbing vitamins and micronutrients and transporting them to the places where they are needed. When things get stuck here, the rest of the organism suffers too. And this can have many different effects.
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Fermented foods are all available ready to buy, but they can easily be produced by yourself. You should definitely try these 7 foods:
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1. kombucha heals from within
The sparkling, fermented tea reminds one a little of cider and shines above all through its inner values. It contains innumerable microorganisms that make it really healthy. Enzymes and lactic acid bacteria support your intestinal flora and the yeasts also supply the essential vitamin B12.
Kombucha can only be made with the help of such a tea mushroom © GreenArt / Shutterstock.com
Kombucha also contains vitamins and minerals such as iron and folic acid. The basis is formed by tea, such as green or black tea, and sugar, which is SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). You can simply buy the trend tea or alternatively you can try your hand at making it yourself.
2nd yoghurt, a healthy all-rounder in everyday life
Yoghurt is also a fermented product made from thickened milk. Lactic acid bacteria are added to the milk to make yoghurt probiotic and thus improve the intestinal flora. By the way, this does not only apply if it is written on the packaging. Yoghurt has this good property by nature.
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When buying it, you should still make sure that it is as free of additives and sugar as possible. It’s mainly hidden in fruit yoghurt. Therefore, you should prefer natural yoghurt.
3. tempeh as a healthy meat substitute
Anyone who is interested in meat substitutes and/or has a vegan diet has probably already stumbled across Tempeh. This is a product made from fermented soybeans, which are then pressed into blocks or rolls.
Soy (left), unlike tempeh (right), is not fermented, but is also made from soybeans © Virginia-Garcia / Shutterstock.com
Mushrooms are used in the fermentation of the beans to make them more digestible. Tempeh is therefore a valuable and easily digestible vegetable protein source, which also contains a lot of important micronutrients such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus or potassium.
4. sauerkraut, a real vitamin C bomb
Sauerkraut is a really healthy slimming product with few calories and many good lactic acid bacteria that keep you and your intestines fit. To turn white cabbage into a probiotic power package, you don’t have to do much except wait. Simply cut the cabbage into thin strips, salt and seal them airtight. Nature will do the rest, or the lactic acid bacteria will take care of it.
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The fermentation process can easily last six weeks. But it is worth the wait. Sauerkraut is bursting with vitamin C and also contains iron, folic acid and a lot of fibre. Alternatively, you can of course also buy sauerkraut ready to eat.
5. protein-rich kefir satisfies for a long time
Kefir, the sour milk drink, often gets lost among the many milk products lined up in the refrigerated section. It is reminiscent of soured milk, but contains carbon dioxide. This is produced during fermentation, i.e. the fermentation process. In most cases cow’s milk is mixed with special fungal cultures from the “kefir fungus”. This turns normal milk into the slightly sour tasting drink that strengthens your intestinal flora.
To make kefir, you need a kefir mushroom © Marcel-Jancovic
However, kefir is not only supposed to keep your gastrointestinal tract in good shape, but also to fight skin impurities from the inside and thus improve the skin’s appearance. Due to the proteins it contains, the sour milk drink is also a good filling drink. The nutritional values are similar to those of milk. You can also make kefir yourself. All you need is: a kefir tuber, 500 ml milk (3.5% fat) and a fermenter.
Pour the milk with kefir into the container, close it (not too tightly) and leave it in a place protected from light for one or two days, stir and pour off through a sieve. Done!
6. miso, a spicy healing paste
Miso is a spicy Japanese paste that most people probably only know in the form of miso soup. What makes it so special is its high protein content and – as with all fermented foods – the diversity of microorganisms. It also scores points as a real nutrient bomb with iron, calcium and potassium.
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Similar to Tempeh, it is made from fermented soybeans, which are then processed into a paste. In Asia it is not only served as a soup before lunch or dinner, but also for breakfast.
7. kimchi, a Korean miracle cure
The little exotic in the round is a Korean tradition, which is hyped as a food trend in our country. Kimchi is practically the Asian sauerkraut. It is traditionally made from Chinese cabbage, which is fermented with ginger, garlic, radish and other vegetables. But in principle it works with any kind of vegetable. The result is the sour tasting Kimchi, which is served with every meal in its home country and is one of the healthiest foods in the world.
It owes this not only to the probiotic bacteria but also to the many fibres, vitamins and minerals.
The Asian sauerkraut: Kimchi © zarzamora / Shutterstock.com
Since ready-made kimchi from the Asian store often contains many additives, it is really worth making it yourself. We’ll tell you how it works.
Making Kimchi yourself – this is how it goes’s
The nice thing about do-it-yourself: you know exactly what’s coming in. Especially with Kimchi it is worth it. And it’s simple too. Because the food is preserved by fermentation, you can prepare a larger portion right away with a clear conscience:
- 1 Chinese cabbage (about 1kg)
- 20 grams salt
- 175 ml cold water
- 2 to 3 EL Rice flour (alternatively normal flour)
- 2 to 3 EL demerara sugar
- 2 spring onions
- 20 grams fresh ginger
- 8 cloves of garlic
- about 30 ml fish sauce
- 40 grams paprika powder
- 20 grams (more if desired) of chilli powder
Anyone can make Kimchi themselves © casanisa / Shutterstock.com
- Chinese cabbage first halve and then quarter it so that the leaves remain on the stalk
- Rub the Chinese cabbage well with the salt (also between the leaves), place in a bowl and leave to stand for at least 2 hours.
- Mix flour with water in a pot, bring to the boil and add the sugar until it has dissolved. Then remove from the heat and let it cool down.
- Cut the spring onions into rings, peel the ginger and chop finely with the garlic.
- For the kimchi paste, add the prepared ingredients to the flour-sugar-water mixture and add fish sauce, paprika and chilli powder.
- Wash the soaked Chinese cabbage and remove the salt as much as possible. You can now crush it further if you wish.
- Rub the cabbage with the pasta and pour it into a clean preserving jar (or another container that you can seal airtight).
In airtight sealed jars the Kimchi can be kept for a long time without any problems. If you like, you can also mix the Chinese cabbage with carrots, radish or other vegetables.
Whether bought or home-made: With fermented food you do something really good for your intestines. It doesn’t have to be the exotic Kimchi, but rather a natural yoghurt as a healthy afternoon snack.