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Fermenting – What’s the Buzz? by Renee Yeo with Ancient Paths


It seems that there is a lot of talk about fermenting these days. Just a few years ago I had never really thought about fermenting foods. It seemed this was something that was good for our grandparents, a way to preserve food before refrigeration, right?


Well, culturing foods (also known as fermenting) is making a comeback and for good reason! What our grandparents may have done for preservation was actually an amazing health benefit, and we would be remiss not to continue this very valuable tradition!


What is fermentation?

The definition of fermentation is “breaking down into simpler components.” This is a simple definition and doesn’t really give you the true definition of its vast benefits, but it’s a start. You see, fermentation makes the foods easier to digest and nutrients easier to assimilate. Basically, eating fermented foods allows the work of digestion to be done for you. Plus, since fermentation doesn’t use heat, you are also getting all the enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients that are usually destroyed by food processing.


In addition to the added nutrients and enzymes that fermented foods provide, there are certain foods that are not optimal to eat raw. Did you know that our cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts) can be harmful when eaten in large quantities in a raw state? This is because the cruciferous vegetables have a natural occurring substance called goitrogens that protect these vegetables while they grow. However, these goitrogens can be especially harmful to the thyroid function. One way to combat these goitrogens is to cook cruciferous vegetables; however, you lose the good vitamins and enzymes. So, in comes fermentation—a perfect way to not only safely eat these wonderful vegetables, but also get added vitamins when you do! Did you know that cabbage has vitamin U? This is only activated by fermenting cabbage – also known as sauerkraut.


No more Tums

Did you know that condiments (like ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut) used to be served before dinner to help digest the main meal? It was a well-known practice for a meal to have condiments to aid in digestion. Our condiments used to be fermented, and these foods would contain pro-biotics that are necessary for optimal digestive health. We would do well to include a fermented food at every meal just like our ancestors did.


Pro-biotics: The key to our health

As we learn more and more about the importance of our digestive health, it cannot be overstated that having a diet filled with natural pro-biotics is the key to optimal health. Eighty percent of our immune system is found in our gut. Therefore, if we learn to take care of our gut, we will find tremendous benefit to our overall health.


Eating a diet rich in cultured or fermented foods is one of the ways our family gets our daily dose of pro-biotics. Since pro-biotics are the “good guys” when it comes to bacteria, we need a lot more of those in our digestive system than the “bad guys,” which wreak havoc to our overall health.


For a good understanding of this, watch this video of Jordan Rubin explaining the important role of pro-biotics:




Make it fun

Making fermented foods can be fun! One of the advantages of homeschooling is that all of life becomes learning! Fermenting foods is no different, and our family has had a great time learning about this wonderful art! We’ve also enjoyed so many wonderful foods and beverages that are not only good for you, but also fun to make!


Here is a great recipe that you can try with your family:


Fermented Ginger Ale

¾ organic ginger

¼ cup organic lime juice

¼ cup organic lemon juice

2 tsp Real Salt or Celtic Salt

¼ cup sucanat

¼ cup *Beyond Organic Suero Viv Gold (liquid whey with Beta Casein A2)

2 quarts purified or spring water


Blend these ingredients well and leave 1 inch between your lid. Leave on counter for 3-5 days (if warm/humid, it will ferment faster). Watch for bubbles (this is good). Once it is fermented to your taste, place in refrigerator and enjoy!


Want some Fermenting Basics? Check out my daughter’s blog:


Here is a link to her Fermenting 101 recipe:



*For more information on how to purchase Beyond Organic products, email Renee Yeo This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 847-602-2792.

Visit http://ancientpaths.mybeyondorganic.com/default.aspx