healing ~ food ~ alchemy
The fermentation of fruits and vegetables is prevalent in most cultures, in fact the ancient Greeks understood that important chemical changes took place during fermentation. They called this change “alchemy.” The preservation of vegetables and fruits by the process of lacto-fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These live microorganisms provide a vital dose of diversity to your gut. The bacteria behind many ferments also produce beneficial compounds that give these foods their antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic properties. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. Other alchemical by-products include hydrogen peroxide and small amounts of benzoic acid.
Once you are comfortable with the process of making your own fermented foods (it was so foreign to me at first and I thought I might accidentally kill myself with bad bacteria), it takes only 3-5 days to the the finished product depending on the temperature of your home. Here's an easy recipe that I have made numerous times with different herbs and spices. Start simple.
"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food", surely Hippocrates ate fermented vegetables!
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded (I used red cabbage)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1.5 tablespoons sea salt ( I used Himalayan)
In a bowl, mix the caraway seeds cabbage and sea salt. Massage with clean hands of pound with a wooden pounder or meat tenderizer for about 10 minutes, to release the juices. Place the cabbage in a wide mouth, sterilized canning jar, being sure to press the cabbage so that it is tightly packed down and covered by the juices. Place a weighted jar directly onto the cabbage so it stays packed down and cover with a towel. Leave the cabbage to ferment for 5-7 days, being sure the cabbage is covered by it’s juices. After 5 days, cover the cabbage and place in cold storage. It is ready to eat and only gets better with age.
As a medicinal take 1-2 tablespoons per day.