We bet you’ve heard the buzz words ‘fermented foods’ pop up a lot recently, and you can probably guess that they’re good for you. But, why? We’re glad you asked!
The ancient process of fermenting has gained momentum in the wellness world recently and gained popularity. And for good reason! Fermenting is no longer that hippie thing… instead, it’s now being praised for boasting some serious gut health benefits. And although we may be biased to some kinds of fermented foods (hint…), surely there are more ways to include them in your diet other than just jars of sauerkraut?
1. Avocado Toast. Say what?! We had to start with this one to blow your socks off! We bet you didn’t know your favourite Sunday brunch dish was actually a fermented food. Traditional sourdough is made by fermenting the dough using bacteria and yeast. There is however some debate on if exposing sourdough to high temperatures negates the probiotic effect, but nonetheless, sourdough bread is made using fermentation. In fact, sourdough is said to be far more friendly on the gut than non-fermented bread as gut-irritating properties like fructans are actually digested by the bacteria during fermentation.
2. Vinegar. The tangy, sour taste you experience when you eat vinegar actually comes from the fermentation of ethanol which produces acetic acid! That’s right, vinegar is also produced through fermentation. But, wait! If you think that chugging down on the vinegar that’s been in your cupboard for years will do the trick, think again. While it is fermented, you won’t be consuming any of the good bacteria that your gut needs. If you want the added benefits of consuming the probiotics that actually do the fermenting, then make sure to buy raw and unpasteurised vinegar with ‘the Mother’. This is simply the name given to the strain of bacteria that ferments the vinegar, and it’s where all the good bugs are hiding! A word of warning – sometimes ‘the Mother’ can look like floaties in the bottle, but this is normal.
3. Tempeh. We’re talking about that weird brain-looking food that vegans are obsessed with! Tempeh is traditionally made from the fermentation of soybeans into a cake. In fact, if you ever get the chance to watch fresh tempeh being made, it’s fascinating! While tempeh was originally a soybean product, you can now find it made from all kinds of legumes – black beans, chickpeas and mung beans. Yum!
4. Soy Sauce. Another surprising one is soy sauce – this cheap condiment is actually a fermented soy product. Originally, soy sauce was made by combining soy with yeast or even mould cultures and fermented using the heat of the sun. But now, we can find it on the shelves of our very own supermarkets. Interestingly, it’s the exact same starter culture that produces soy sauce and the very last food on our list…
5. Miso. Of course, we had to add this one in! Just like soy sauce, miso has become commonplace in our supermarkets and pantries, so much so that we often forget it’s origin and that it’s actually a fermented product. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybean paste with something known as koji. Koji is steamed rice or barley grains that are cultured with a mould called Aspergillus oryzae. While it may sound a little funky, it’s how miso gets it’s incredibly rich umami flavour profile and what makes it so distinctive.
So, there you have it – fermented foods are not only all around us, but they don’t have to break the bank either. Which of these foods are your favourite?
You can shop our range of Powdered Miso, Koji and Umami Salts online here