Hello, This is Rhonda from Pure Simple Self!
So some common questions that I seem to get asked often, being a Digestive Wellness Specialist are
“Is the sauerkraut I buy in the store good for me?” or
“Are these pickled beets healthy?”
If the question is in relation to your gut health, or overall health than my first response or question would be
First- ”Did you read the ingredients on the labels? and 2nd , – Are you looking for a probiotic or cultured food or just a good source to get your veggies?”
Today I would like to explain what are Fermented Foods, and how it is different from Pickled Foods.
Lets first start by explaining the Pickling process. Pickling is technically a method of “cooking” or breaking down food, as it is a process that can both preserve food and/or make otherwise “raw” food edible and ready for immediate consumption. This breaking down can occur two different ways: (1) pickles can be fermented, or (2) a quick vinegar or lemon juice massage will also yield the sour, pickled taste you crave.
But wait- what about fermenting? Isn’t that the same thing?
So here’s the story. All fermented foods are pickled, but not all pickled foods are fermented. Fermented food sits out for a substantial period of time, thereby introducing ambient bacteria that will naturally ferment the food that is undergoing the pickling process. So, the way to make a homemade pickled food into fermented food is to let it sit out for at least 10 days or longer with all the food fully submerged in the liquid brine. Specifically, if you wanted to lacto-ferment a plant food,…In the process of lacto-fermentation, bacteria convert sugar in the food product to lactic acid, which is a preservative. Simply put: Lactobacillus + sugar + salt + time – air = lactic acid fermentation!
Real Life Examples
Next time you’re in the grocery store, you’ll be able to note these key differences! Dill pickles, for instance, are pickled cucumbers that have been “cooked” in a vinegar brine with garlic, dill etc. Store-bought pickles are usually NOT fermented. Sauerkraut, which is technically pickled cabbage, is pickled via fermentation. So that would mean that if it is in a can or a jar sitting on the shelf, chances are it has been pasteurized, cooked and pickled.
So if you see a can or a jar of sauerkraut and it sits on a shelf, chances are it is not fermented. This does not mean that it does not have good nutritional quality, it just means that it does not have the bacteria benefiting probiotics.
And that famous miso we all know and enjoy is naturally fermented soybean that is prepared using salt and fungus.
So now as for those pickled beets, again look at those ingredients, look at the sugar content, a beet is sweet to begin with, do you really want that added sugar? Just take that into consideration before you get them.
WHAT IS CULTURING?
Culturing generally means there has been some sort of microbial starter used to initiate fermentation. Common microbial starters include whey, SCOBYs and powdered starter cultures. Water kefir is an example of culturing. The water kefir grains are actually grain sized symbiotic colonies of yeast and bacteria. These grains feed on sugar water producing a cultured beverage containing beneficial yeast and bacteria.
I hope you have found this information helpful. If you are interested in learning more about how to make your own fermented foods I do teach workshops. My most recent workshop was held at a beautiful location at Kitchens by Diane on Riverside. It was on how to make your own fermented vegan nut cheeses. It was super fun as well as Delicious!
If you would like to learn more go ahead and Contact me at – http://www.puresimpleself.com/contact/