We are at the height of lacto-fermenting season right now, and we have been getting some emails hinting at certain questions that I call “the elephant in the room”. What are elephant in the room questions? These are the questions that lots of people want to ask but don’t. Often there can be many elephants, but who wants to ask first? Well how about we open a bag of peanuts, lure some elephants out, and take care of them! 🙂
Elephant #1: Sauerkraut is the only food that can help improve my health.
You might be surprised how many people lacto-ferment and only make sauerkraut over and over again. Yes, sauerkraut is a great food, and it does help the gut in many ways, but what about all the other great vegetables out there that can be lacto-fermented? Sauerkraut might be one of the highest volume foods we lacto-ferment here at Cooking God’s Way, but it is only one of the foods we enjoy. How about some lacto-fermented pickles, carrots, green beans, peppers, hummus, bean dip, salsas, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise? Notice how many of those items you have in your fridge. Why not have them lacto-fermented too?
I guess I am a pro-biotic pig of sorts, I even hear myself singing “I want it all, I want it, I want it!” I do want as many foods as I can get into my diet to be lacto-fermented. See what are available, here. Can you blame me for wanting foods that have the enzymes boosted, vitamins enhanced, are easy to digest, and loaded with immune system boosting pro-biotics? Come on, you can join me and sing along, “I want it all, I want it, I want it!”.
Elephant #2: My lacto-fermented item turned out wrong! It worked the last 3 times fine, what happened?
People are so surprised when their lacto-fermented food item does not come out tasting exactly like it did before. All I can say is blame it on Betty Crocker! She sold us cake mixes for decades and they always turned out as expected! So did that hamburger helper. In fact, more often than not, most things you make from a box come out as they were intended. It makes sense; everything in that box is dead! What could make it change from time to time?
Keep in mind lacto-fermented foods are alive. And live things don’t always act as we want them to, they just like to act up at times. Anyone that has kids knows what I mean. Live foods can have different levels of lacto-bacilli, different moisture levels, vitamin counts, etc. And the list goes on and on. So don’t be overly shocked or doubt your lacto-fermenting skills when a jar does not come out exactly like the others in the past. Seasons change and so does the taste of foods. Well, at least real foods change over the season.
My advice would be to ask yourself: “What changed from the last time?”. Did you get the vegetables at a different market? Did you alter the recipe? Or is it just a change of season or maybe temperature in the home? Are you using quality lacto-fermenting tools, such as an airlock system that provides an anaerobic environment and weights that keep the food consistently below the surface of the brine? If you ferment enough you will come across a genuinely bad batch that smells worse than anything you can imagine; just toss it and start with a new batch.
Elephant #3: I used to make lacto-fermented foods! But I don’t know why I stopped.
I have heard people tell me how they tried making and eating these foods for a few months, and then just stopped. I ask if they stopped because of taste, and they will tell me they loved the way they tasted. So I ask them why they stopped and they usually are not sure. If I question a little more they say it was just work, and that they did not have time. Another response is, “I just did not need them after all, I feel fine.” Is their health where they want it? Usually, they reply there is room for improvement.
There is scientific testing that shows lacto-fermented foods have many benefits such as; they are easier to digest, have more nutrients bio-available, and contain greater numbers of enzymes and vitamins than their raw counter parts. Don’t forget the increased counts of pro-biotics, greatly increased, after processing. Who wouldn’t need these foods in their daily diet?! Personally, I know my family can’t do without them.
Why they stopped making lacto-fermented foods is an age old answer. Yes, we do live in a very busy world today, with many things trying to get our attention. To keep going with something it has to be a passion. I am not saying you have to think 24/7 about health, but if it is a priority then you will give the time where it is needed.
Involve Others Making A Lifestyle
To keep items a priority it helps if you involve others. Get your family and friends into making lacto-fermented foods with you and make a get-together out of the event. One of my client’s is a college student, and he asked me to suggest how he could find the time to make healthy foods during his busy class week. I suggested having a weekend get-together with his friends, to grill and make great, healthy food dishes. He shares the work with his friends and they all have a great time fellow-shipping while making more food than they can eat, leaving plenty to be stored for the weekly meals my client needs. In the end a new lifestyle was created, and it became a priority.