Today I want to ramble a bit about fermentation!
First of all lets understand what fermentation is and how it can be nourishing?
Fermentation is a process whereby an organism converts a carbohydrate such as starch or sugar into an alcohol or acid. Friendly bacteria convert carbohydrates into lactic acid through fermentation. In very simple terms the process of fermentation breaks down a substance into a simpler (more digestible) substance.
Beneficial microorganisms such as yeasts and bacteria either through inoculation or naturally occurring in the air will set to work on digesting carbohydrates in foods in order to survive. Once you allow these beneficial microorganisms to get to work the food is transformed taking on new flavours, texture and aromas.
Fermented foods are fantastic for waking up any palate and most definately will strengthen your immune system and give a struggling digestive system a good wake up call! But best of all fermented foods are a mighty power house of probiotic rich strains of bacteria and yeasts. Not only will these strains of probiotic rich bacteria keep the opportunistic 'unfriendly' bacteria at bay ( think a rowdy bunch of delinquents that want to cause harm if given the opportunity! ) but they will help preserve food, in addition to helping slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion and stengthen immunity!
FERMENTED BEVERAGES (the non-alcohol variety)
With winter just around the corner, I have decided its time to schedule one of my workshops on fermentation. For our next workshop, I will introduce to the lucky attendees the what, why and how of fermenting nourishing probiotic rich beverages. Everyone who attends will recieve their own living cultures to bring away home so they can begin their own journey into the world of fermentation.
Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving foods and beverages. Countries around the world have their own unique signature 'cultured' recipes specific to their environment.
Beetroot is in abundance this time of year. So it's only natural todays blog is all about this ruby red superfood. Sometimes when we think of superfoods, we think wheatgrass, spirulina, goji berries and chia seeds. However, in Ireland it is very easy to grow your own superfood in your back garden. Beetroots are a prime example of how local and inespensive superfoods can be.
Fortunately for me, my friend Marsha was a little over ambitious when planting her beets in spring and has kindly shared with me some of her harvest!!
According to an article in Medical News Today by Megan Ware a 2008 study published in Hypertension examined the effects of ingesting 500mls of beetroot juice in healthy volunteers and found that blood pressure was significantly lowered after ingestion. Researchers hypothesized this was likely due to the high nitrate levels contained in beet juice and that the high nitrate vegetables could prove to be a low cost and effective way to treat cardiovascular conditions and blood pressure. Beetroot is also very rich in choline - an important nutrient in regulating sleep, muscle movement, memory and learning. Choline is essential in keeping cell membranes healthy - allowing for the transmission of nerve impulses, aiding in the absorption of fat and reducing inflammation. And for all you fitness warriors out there beetroots are rich in the anti-oxidant nitrate. This is the key to keeping your blood oxygenated and enhance tolerance to longterm endurance exercise.
Picked early in the growing season the young leaves can be added to salads or used to make beautiful pestos. The bulb can be grated into salads, roasted, steamed, fermented and juiced!! So if you are like my friend and have too many beetroots consider your self lucky. Set aside a couple of hours and bake an indulgent beetroot brownie, let some more simmer away into a savoury chutney for homemade Christmas hampers, ferment another 2 or 3 into the best kvass tonic your body will ever know or stock up that freezer with these hearty beety burgers! Check out the recipe overon my facebook page Marians Nutrition Therapy - just copy and paste the link into your browser. (check out my prescription page for all nourishing recipe links)
Ever since I was a small girl seaweed fascinated me. Of course my first introduction to this sprawling coastline shiny leathery plant was when we were brought on our annual trip to the beach. Back then and yes I am talking decades ago - our parents had us warned not to go near it - for fear of slipping and sliding along these long slippery belts that donned the rocks that just begged to be climbed. Naturally anything brown and slimy was enough to keep us safe from that paternal threat of ''dont come running to me if you......'' I neednt say anymore.
nourish life with Marian
Young at heart mother of one with a passion for food, foraging & fun with friends!