Q: What the funk is fermentation?
A: Lactofermentation is a process of preservation by which microorganisms naturally found in our environment digest the starch in fruits & vegetables, releasing lactic acid & carbon dioxide as byproducts. This hard-working “good bacteria” only thrives in an anaerobic, aqueous solution (this is why it’s important to make sure your fermented products stay submerged below the brine). We monitor the pH of our products from crock to jar, packaging at the earliest possible stage of actual fermentation. Crunchier krauts & a mild sour flavor are characteristic of the most recently jarred batches, & unless they get hot, fermentation will continue, resulting in softer, more sour products over time. The funkier the flavor, the stronger the probiotic culture (which is known to be sour & maybe even effervescent)! The science world is thick with information about the health benefits of these little microbes. Multitudes of positive research aside- we just love the taste & texture of our ferments!
Q: Why ferment?
A: Our ancestors have been fermenting since 6000 B.C. It’s a fairly simple science of extending the life of food. This means having the gift of fruits & vegetables around when they wouldn’t be growing otherwise. The other giant bonus is that the process of lactofermentation maintains, & in some cases, even enhances the vitamin & mineral content of the ingredients! On top of that, enzymes & probiotics are added to the mix for ultra digestibility & absorption.
Q: What are the health benefits of fermentation?
A: All sorts of research is being conducted on how probiotics positively influence health. Below are links to a few articles highlighting areas currently being explored on the frontier of this partnership between microbes & humans.
Anxiety & depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27632908
Cancer prevention https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27144297
Cognitive function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27553784
Gastrointestinal disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424311/
Liver disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27741172
Stomach ulcers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27241906
Q: What else is fermented?
A: All the good things! Off the top of my head, in alphabetical order, are some favorites- beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, labne, liquor, miso, pickles (new, half sour, & full sour- NOT the vinegar dudes), sauerkraut, sourdough, tempeh, tofu, fruit vinegars, wine, & yogurt. What’s not to love?