The idea that food "past its best" is more beneficial for you than fresh produce is somewhat ludicrous - right? I would have agreed with you... the old Imogen that is! I have always cut the peculiar dark green bits off ...
The idea that food "past its best" is more beneficial for you than fresh produce is somewhat ludicrous - right?
I would have agreed with you... the old Imogen that is! I have always cut the peculiar dark green bits off the cheese, scrapped the furry grey looking fluff out of the jam jar, and drank milk past its "best before." More for the reason that I don't like waste, not because I ever associated that sour taste in milk with the process of fermentation by which of tiny bacteria exist in symbiosis; converting the milk sugar lactose into lactic acid.
Fermenting foods is one of the oldest traditions known to mankind, yet many of us today know little about the production and processes of fermented foods. In the late 1800’s a scientist by the name of Dr. Elie Metchnikoff recognized the benefits that fermented foods offered after studying Bulgarian peasants who consumed yogurt regularly. He coined the term Lactobacillus bulgaricus, stating consumption of foods high in Lactobacillus decreased toxins and improved immunity. Unfortunately after his passing, his work on fermented foods fell by the wayside and scientists began to focus their energies onto the research of antibiotics and immunizations.
The art that comes with making a great batch of fizzy Kombucha, a sour bitey bowl of Sauerkraut or a bubbly lively sourdough starter is something that I consider so simple, yet so pleasurable.
The best thing about fermenting - no two fermented creations are ever the same. Ever. Fermentation conditions are always evolving, with so many external variables - temperature and weather conditions, acidity levels, quality of the fermented medium, yeast activity within the environment and so on. With each ferment you embark on a new and exciting fermenting adventure!
My own definition of fermenting goes something like this:
To allow food to decompose, create their own little bacteria breeding ecosystems, bubble and fizz, break down important nutrients into a more digestible form and at times, giving my kitchen a distinct but homely smell of homemade goodness.
Not only is fermenting simple and fun - its contagious. Literally.
The adventure of fermenting, experimenting, re-connecting, and reviving old traditions, is not to be missed. If you love a challenge, have been craving a new food hobby or are just generally interested in knowing more about fermented foods, then you are in the right place. I welcome you to join the journey, better yet I challenge you to jump in and start your own journey; if not for you, for the inner child in you who loves to create.