What is Fermentation?

By / 26th January, 2014 / Healing Techniques, Recipes, Regeneration / Off

what is fermentation

What is Fermentation

When microorganisms, such as bacteria, molds, and yeasts colonize and process foods, it is called fermentation.

There are many different kinds of yeasts, molds, and bacteria.  Some of them are harmful, and will make food dangerous or unpalatable.

If the organisms are properly controlled, fermentation can create food that is highly nutritious, tasty, and long lasting.

One of the most useful types of fermentation is called lacto-fermentation.  This process results from bacteria called lactobacilli. These bacteria convert sugars and starches into lactic acid, which acts as an effective preservative.  They live everywhere, but are commonly found in milk and yogurt.

Other common fermenters are wild yeasts.  They live in the air, and are found all over common household surfaces.  They make fermented grain foods, such as sourdough culture for bread and pancakes.


Health Benefits

  • Fermented foods boost the immune system, helping us to remain free of disease.  It supports recovery from all kinds of degenerative conditions and auto-immune diseases, including arthritis, cancers, diabetes, and more.
  • Fermentation preserves food, without cooking all of the life force and nutritional value out of it.   Many fermented foods can be stored for months, or even years.
  • Fermentation increases the nutrient content of foods, especially the Vitamin B complex and trace minerals.
  • Fermented foods increase digestibility, and more of the food’s nutrients are absorbed and assimilated.  It can help support recovery from digestive ailments of all kinds.
  • And best of all, fermentation enhances and improves food flavor!


How to Know if Your Fermented Food is Good

Properly fermented foods should be stored in a cool, dark place such as a basement, cool pantry or cupboard, or–if you are one of the lucky ones who have one–a root cellar.

Bad smells, slimy or stringy brine, and colored molds are all signs that the food has gone bad.  White mold (called kahm yeast) is not harmful, and can be skimmed off the food before eating.


The Four Basics

There are 4 basic families of fermented foods, which all interact together to make a strong foundation for a health enhancing diet.  They are

  • Sourdough Culture
  • Whey and Fermented Milks
  • Fermented Drinks
  • Fermented Vegetables

You may start out with just one or two of these families, but will eventually want to bring all four into your kitchen.  These are the four cornerstones of fermented high frequency eating!