This will be most likely my last post for 2012, and since it is the time of the year where we all tend to indulge in yummy foods, here is a post about food!
I first started to experiment with fermented foods in 2001. At that point, I was working as a cook and ski instructor in Norway.
In 2000, I had gone a major shift in the way I looked at food and nutrition. That was when I first heard about Weston Price and his studies through Anthony Bova’s “Spartan regimen”. This lead to reading books and more research on my behalf, and of course experimenting. I still use the guidelines today, but I am no food nazi ;-)
Basically I started adding more lacto acid fermented products and raw enzymes to my diet. and it’s been the smartest thing that I ever did for myself.
Sourdough rye bread is really popular with Danes, and since most of the guests at the lodge I was working at were Danes, we made our own sourdough rye bread in the kitchen. I have since learned different ways to make a “sour dough starter”, from just water and flour, to using cultured milk and flour and easiest of all, using wild berries/ fruits and flour.
In Norway, kefir is a common dairy product, found next to yogurt in supermarkets. However, I have to stress that commercial kefir, like commercial buttermilk, resembles in no way the real home made stuff!
So anyway, I was getting my taste buds challenged with new flavors, and decided to make my first batch of raw sauerkraut. I got the recipe of the Price foundation website, and I think that this first batch was made more as a challenge than as a real interest in eating sauerkraut. I simply couldn’t believe that all it took was some cabbage and salt, and voila, magically all this wonderful stuff would happen.
But sure enough, after 3 days fermenting away on a shelf, my sauerkraut was ready! I got hooked on the taste straight away. How different it was from the cooked sauerkraut dish that I knew!Suddenly I had found a hobby. Raw sauerkraut is always to be found in my house, and I still get amazed every time I open a new jar.
Another food I love making is Idli. Idli and dosas are traditional Indian fermented food. Idli is a thin batter like for pancakes, dosas have athicker batter that has to be steamed, . The general process is:
- Separately soak rice and lentils at least overnight in water.
- Put into a blender and grind to a puree
- Mix together, add salt with water to make a batter.
- Leave at room temperature overnight.
- Fry off and enjoy with raita (a yogurt side dish very like tadziki)
Rice volume is double that of lentils. So basically, you can use a combination of grains and pulses, in a ratio of 2 to 1. Do not use grains that have gluten, it just makes a sticky mess when you blend the mixture. I have made tasty idlis with red lentils and buckwheat, lentils and millet, amaranth and lentils, so again, experiment!
The beauty of lacto acid fermentations is the increased nutrition that results out of the process. The process also removes the anti -nutrients like oxalates and phytates found in grains, nuts and pulses, making the fermented foods easily digestible.
Raw fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kefir, are teeming with live enzymes and probiotics supporting your digestive functions.
Another benefit of fermented foods – such as sauerkraut, some cheeses (Jarlsberg and Emmental), natto and miso- is that those foods contain substantial amounts of vitamin K2, which can be hard to obtain otherwise.
Vitamin K1 is found in: spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale, green peas and carrots.
Vitamin K2 has so many functions not associated with vitamin K1 that many researchers insist that K1 and K2 are best seen as two different vitamins entirely.
What can high-vitamin K foods do for you?
- Allow your blood to clot normally
- Help protect your bones from fracture
- Help prevent postmenopausal bone loss
- Help prevent calcification of your arteries
It’s important to note that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that in order for your body to absorb it effectively, you need to eat some fat along with it. I spread miso on crackers, and top up with butter, as a better tasting substitute to good old Vegemite.
Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year!