What is Fermentation?
What Is Vegetable Fermentation?
Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique in which bacteria, yeasts, and the enzymes they produce break down food. Through this process, the nutrients are enhanced and become more bioavailable for your body to absorb. The bacteria also produce B-vitamins during the fermentation process.
The main type of bacteria is called lactobacillus and they produce lactic acid, hints the name “lactic acid fermentation” or “lacto fermentation”. These bacteria are naturally occurring on fruits and vegetables and when given the correct environment, an acidic, anaerobic, and salty one, they thrive and outcompete any pathogenic bacteria. Lactobacillus also naturally occurs in your digestive tract and helps you digest your food, thus eating fermented foods helps replenish them and boosts your immune system.
This food preservation technique has been around since before refrigeration and is how people all across the globe have stored food through the seasons. There is not a single culture in this world that doesn’t practice some form of fermentation; it is a cultural universal.
Examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, sourdough bread, salami, cheese, olives, chocolate, tea, coffee, vanilla, fish sauce, miso, tempeh…even ketchup and mustard used to be fermented!