I remember when I thought only the freshest, most vibrant looking foods were the best things for you. That was probably around the time when I kept spare change in my pocket for the payphone. Time brought about new advances like touch screen phones, and I learned to think outside of the box (You live and you learn) . My first conscious experience with fermented foods was when I tried kimchi for the time. I had dinner with a friend of mine during my years in culinary school, who happened to be Korean. I was gaga for any new food experience. I showed up expecting something authentic and memorable, and she didn’t disappoint. Her kimchi was a spicy blend of crisp cabbage that demanded my approval. It left a huge impression on me. So much so, that I had to know how to make it, and other fermented foods for that matter. During my quest to learn more about fermented foods, I realized I had been eating fermented foods all of my life (what a revelation). Saurkraut, kimchi, kombutcha, and pickles are all born to the family of “fermented foods”. And that’s prime time news, because these foods (however gross the process looks) are hella good for your digestive system. Probiotics (natural enzymes ) are what act to boost the immune system, and improve your ability to digest food. Fermentation not only improves the flavor of foods, it also preserves them while making them even easier to digest. Now if this all sounds too scientific, and gross, let me just get you hip to the fact that you’ve probably had pickles, sauerkraut, and cheese already. So relax. Besides, Hippocrates (the father of medicine) has made it so ever clear to us that “digestion begins in the gut”. With all things considered, the words of Hippocrates, centuries of people making fermented foods ( Chef Will’s love of fermented foods), and medical science’s endorsement , you should be eating more of “all things fermented” . Try this recipe for quick pickles from the lovely Rachel Ray. Enjoy!
Chef Will Hall
1/2 cup white vinegar, eyeball it
2 rounded teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove cracked garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, chopped or snipped
1 bay leaf
4 Kirby cucumbers, cut into 1-inch slices on an angle
Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving.
Billet, F. (2011, 09 07). Mixed pickle image. Retrieved from http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipes/mixed-pickled-vegetables/
Felicetti, M. J. (2012, 07 30). 12 ways fermented foods heal your body & mind. Retrieved from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5634/12-Ways-Fermented-Foods-Heal-Your-Body-Mind.html
7 fermented foods you should be eating. (2013, 08 9). Retrieved from http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2013/08/09/7-fermented-foods-you-should-be-eatings:
Probiotics & fermented foods. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.sacfoodcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=438:probiotics-a-fermented-foods&catid=59:consumer-guides&lang=us&Itemid=65
Ray, R. (2013). Quick pickles. Retrieved from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/quick-pickles-recipe/index.html