When life gives you lemons
Recipes for fermented food to ensure healthy stomach bacteria
Over the years I’ve had numerous people come to train with me in the kitchen, and each came with their own ideas, techniques, skills and gifts. I have so many fond memories and we, as a family, share many happy stories of visitors. Last week Lauren, who is Korean and was brought up in California, came back to dine with us from Berlin. It was eight years since she spent a summer with us in the kitchen. Her biggest gift to us was introducing us to the health benefits of fermented foods in our diet. Lauren is not only a chef, an opera singer and gifted healer, she now runs a kimchi- focused food business in Germany.
I can recall vividly when she told me I had no “good gut bacteria” and I needed to be consuming fermented foods and drinks. I had no idea what she was talking about and it took me some time to understand the whole process.
Within a few weeks we were serving kimchi – a fermented Korean cabbage condiment – with our roast chicken and educating our customers. I was preserving lemons, eating aged cheeses, drinking cider vinegar and had made sauerkraut and sourdough bread over the years, but didn’t understand the process and the full extent of their health benefits.
On trend Fast forward and, today, fermented food and drink is on trend and readily available in many shops and food markets. If you have not introduced them into your diet, there are many reasons why you should.
Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermenation, in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates lots of goodness along the way: B- vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and probiotics, as well as the goodness of the vegetables and spices.
You may be a little overwhelmed at first by their odour and sometimes the taste. Avoid a deep breath as you open the jar. But do persist and introduce them slowly into your diet, in very small quantities, but eaten often, and I promise your body will start to crave that feelgood factor that they give.
COOK CARMEL SOMERS