Heal Your Digestive System With Microbial Rich Foods

Aloha LCFPR Lovers,

It’s that time of year again J. Summertime is the perfect time to plan and preserve garden fresh foods for year-round pleasure. Fermentation is one way to assure you get the most bang for your buck. At a fraction of the cost of store-bought probiotics, you also get to enjoy the unique flavor profiles of many fermented recipes.

Before you get started, I wanted to share some reasons why it’s a good idea to add fermented foods to your diet and this delightful passage from Michael Pollan’s book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation:

“To ferment your own food is to lodge a small but eloquent protest – on behalf of the senses and the microbes against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we remain passive consumers of its standardized commodities, rather than creators of idiosyncratic products expressive of ourselves and of the places where we live, because your pale ale or sourdough bread or kimchi is going to taste nothing like mine or anyone else’s.” Bam! Thank You Michael Pollan

What Is a Microbe? 

A Microbe is a microorganism, especially a bacterium causing disease or fermentation. Whoa… disease or fermentation! What do you choose?

Microbes are everywhere. They are in the air you breathe, the ground you walk on, the food you eat—they’re even inside your body! Microbe is the term for tiny creatures that individually are too small to be seen with the unaided eye. It’s hard to imagine that millions of them can fit into the eye of a needle. Microbes include bacteria, archaea, fungi, and protists. Microbes are the oldest form of life on earth present hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, dating back more than 3.5 billion years.

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. There are more of them on your hand than there are people on the whole planet! Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 3 % of your body’s mass (in a 200-pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in your health.

Without microbes, we cannot digest food, plants cannot grow, garbage won’t decay, and there would be a lot less oxygen to breathe.

How to restore and improve your gut bacteria
Add fermented foods to your diet
Eat mostly fruit and vegetables ~ organic of course
Reduce your stress
Reduce or eliminate processed sugar, and any process foods
Stay Healthy, avoid antibiotics if possible
Avoid any antibacterial products, such as hand soaps, cleaning products, cosmetics and anything containing the chemical Triclosan. Triclosan has been added to many consumer products—including clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys—to prevent bacterial contamination
Spend time in nature and get your hands in the soil

Fermented Vegetable Recipe Ideas

These simple recipes will make your gut gurgle
and your tongue tingle with delight!

Colorful Kraut
Ingredients
• 3 heads green cabbage, shredded
• 2 beets, grated
• 3 carrots, grated
• 6 TB fresh grated Ginger
• 4 TB fresh grated Turmeric
• 4-6 TB Hawaiian or Himalayan Sea Salt Optional: 1/2 lemon or lime juice

Caraway Cumin Kraut
• 4 heads green cabbage, shredded or other vegetables
• 3 TB Caraway Seed
• 2 TB Cumin Seed
• 4-6 TB Hawaiian or Himalayan Sea Salt Optional: 1/2 lemon or lime juice

Pickled Cucumbers
• 3 cucumbers
• 6 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon of fresh dill if you have it, pickling spices… be creative
• 1 tablespoon of sea salt
• 4 tablespoons whey (if you have none, use additional 1 tablespoon salt)
• 1 cup of filtered water (I like to add lemon or lime juice)
Wash cucumbers and slice. Place in wide mouth jar. Combine rest of ingredients and pour over cucumbers. Top off with liquid to 1 inch below the top. Cover loosely and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days before transferring to the refrigerator. Tighten lid … enjoy!

Tips for Making Fermented Vegetables

• 1 pound of vegetables = approx. 1 pint
• Salts should be approx. 2-3 % of the mix about 1 Tsp per pint, healing TB for a quart
• Ferment for 3 to 7 days at room temperature
• If using whey, an inoculant from older ferments, or a starter the process will go faster

Timing, Temperature, Texture, and Taste …… It is up to your taste buds. Be creative, choose fresh herbs and spices that suit your taste.
Fermented vegetables can keep in your fridge for years. Like a fine wine, they become even more delicious with time. You can pull one of these living salads out whenever you’re hungry and have some healthy “fast food.”

Refrigerate your delicious effervescent ferments after the 5-7-day fermentation process is complete and they can last indefinitely if they are submerged in their natural juices. They are at the peak of the conversion process in the first week. Some say they are best eaten within 6 months; others say they get better with age. I say …. just keep making them and eating them, they won’t last long.

The conversion process is the fermentation process. It is the transformative action of microorganisms. This means the ferments are converting the sugars and starches in the vegetables to lactic and acetic acids. Your ferments will continue to transform slowly while refrigerated. When you bring the ferments back up to room temperature or put them in your warm body, the fermentation process excels.

Important!

If you find white mold or scum on the surface, just skim off into your compost. This will happen if you do not have enough liquid to cover the Kraut as fermentation is an anaerobic process and when it is exposed to air which can attract stray microbes, yeasts, and molds. You can also fill a small airtight bag with filtered water and some salt and top off your jar if you are concerned. This keeps the kraut submerged. If the mold is red or brown… toss it in your compost or down your garbage deposal and start over.

Now that you have the why and the how-to, it’s time to get at it! I hope that I’ve inspired you to incorporate these microbial rich foods into your diet. In the next, blog, I’ll provide you with more LCFP recipes and reasons why to ferment and preserve your extra garden delights and farmer market surplus. Meanwhile, you can check out these other helpful resources.

Wild Fermentation Sandor Katz

Nourishing Traditions Sally Fallon

Nourishing Kitchen

Big Love and ALOHA, Donna Maltz Mama Donna
Teach your children well.