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Getting Started with Fermented Foods, With Wardee Harmon

fermentedsoda
I’d like to share an introduction to my good friend Wardee Harmon’s e-book Lacto-Fermentation. Wardee is a wonderful and passionate educator and blogger on the subject of fermentation as well as other real food and natural health topics.
 

If you are new to fermenting, you’ll discover a bit about the benefits of fermented foods, why you might want to make them yourself rather than buy at the store, and get some inspiration for doing your own preparation.
 

Lacto-Fermentation is a companion ebook to the online Lacto-Fermentation ecourse on her blog GNOWFLGINS. In this book you’ll learn to make sauerkraut, condiments, preserves, relishes, pickles, kvass, kombucha, and much more. 
 

Her other book The Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods is already on my shelf and I am thrilled to have this one in my collection as well.
 

Some years ago when I first started fermenting, I was pretty intimidated.  But as I discovered, the process is not difficult. And once you get going, it’s really fun.   I always feel motivated by the fact that I know the fermented foods I make are not only delicious but also have increased nutrient value over just eating those same foods raw or cooked. Now I can’t imagine my life without these probiotic-rich foods; including them in my daily diet has improved my health in ways I never knew possible.
 
I would have loved to get my hands on a great book like this with which to begin my journey into fermenting. Wardee definitely makes learning how to ferment fun and easy, something any beginner will appreciate.  
 

Wardee’s book Lacto-Fermentation is one of  the many superb offerings in the Extreme Health Digital Library, with 50+ health & wellness titles – e-books, videos, white papers, and more with a value of over $800…available for just $39.97 (each title costs just .75 cents each) all day today, March 7th until midnight at 12 a.m. PST.

 

What are fermented foods?

I heard recently that “ferment” would be the health buzz word of 2013.
 

The word ferment, when you use it together with food, can be a little scary for some people. The ick factor is high. But the good news is, this is lessening as more and more people become aware of the health benefits of fermented foods and become accustomed to the complex, sweet-sour-salty taste.
 

I’m happy to be a guest here today. Raine’s a good friend and she asked me to talk about the benefits of fermented foods, the advantages of making them yourself, and also give you some encouragement and tips for getting started. So that’s what I’m going to do.
 

First, what’s so great about fermented foods? Get ready! They’re really, really awesome.

Wait: I think I’d better explain what’s happening when a food is fermented. I’m talking about a particular type of fermentation — lacto-fermentation. What’s happening is that beneficial organisms, called lactobacilli, are encouraged to eat the food and proliferate throughout the food (this process is also called culturing). While they’re eating, they’re producing an acid that effectively preserves and protects the food form spoiling. Also they’re making the food better for us.
 

Here’s where the benefits come in.

Fermented foods experience a nutrition boost. Minerals are more readily absorbed, vitamin and enzyme content increases, the beneficial acid (lactic acid) aids in digestion and overall health, beneficial organisms re-populate the gut to increase the health of our immune system and overall health, and foods get pre-digested, making them more digestible for us. It really is a miraculous and highly beneficial process!
 

So, next question. Why would someone (namely, you) want to go to all the trouble of making fermented foods yourself?

Keep in mind, you certainly don’t have to make them yourself to get the benefits. There are merchants making high-quality fermented foods and you can find them in the cooler of your health food store or health food department — Kombucha, kvass, sauerkraut, old-fashioned pickled, cheese… These foods are really delicious and I love supporting these companies when I can’t make something myself.
 
But when you make them yourself, you’ll save money — all those bottles of Kombucha add up! Also, you can tweak flavors to get unique results and tastes all your own. Or perhaps you’ve just got gobs of garden produce to put up. Well, fermenting is a whole lot easier than canning, because the fermenting organisms do all the “cooking” while you sit back and wait for their work to be done. Plus, fermenting is more nutritious than canning. (You do need cold storage, like a cellar, to keep fermented foods long term. If you don’t have a cellar, certainly consider fermenting on an as-needed basis.)
 

Now let me encourage you to get started.

A lot of people think that if they don’t like sauerkraut, they won’t like other fermented foods. This is simply not true. So many foods can be fermented, and with so many different end flavors, that I’m pretty sure every person can find a fermented food to like. My eBook, Lacto-Fermentation, shares recipes to ferment practically every food group. You’ll create kefir and yogurt and real sour cream, cheese, sourdough bread, probiotic ice cream, pickles, chutneys, relish, salsa, beverages, and even pickled meats.
 
For the person who is particularly wary of sour foods, I’d recommend venturing into the world of fermented foods with one of these more mild ferment recipes (found on my blog): fruit chutney, fermented guacamole (video included), fermented ketchup, or fermented cranberry-apple-orange relish, just to name a few. Each of these recipes uses simple, real and whole food ingredients, and no special equipment other than jars or crocks — and a little time for the organisms to do their thing.
 
Doesn’t sound so hard, does it? And it sounds delicious, right? So get out there and get fermenting!

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I’d like to thank Wardee for kindly providing a great introduction to fermented foods. Now, aren’t you a little more motivated to learn more about these beneficial foods and get healthier?  :)
 

To purchase this book…

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Lacto-Fermentation / Wardee Harmon

Lacto-Fermentation is a 155-page, 23-lesson digital book with detailed instruction on fermenting fruits, vegetables, beans, meats, dairy, and grains. The book will expose you to a variety of fermentation methods — using salt, whey, or other starter cultures. Recipes go beyond fermentation methodology and include spices and seasonings to improve the flavor of the final product.

“Fermented foods are foods that have been cultured by beneficial organisms. In the right conditions, beneficial organisms feast on the food, producing beneficial acids, and transforming the food into something better. This culturing develops complex flavors and pleasing textures, while the food becomes more nutritious than it was before. And the acids preserve and protect the food from spoiling. It is really a miraculous process.”

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