A brief history of fermented foods


Fermentation dates back through to ancient times when the availability of food was far too scarce to dispose of. Humans managed to preserve these precious stocks by using different techniques the World over. Interestingly the various ways of fermenting were achieved simultaneously without the aid of Intercontinental communication. This language of food preservation is something that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is still very popular in many European countries,and further afield, to sample a wide range of healthy ferments when joining others for a meal. For those of us here in Ireland the act of fermentation has been somewhat forgotten with regard to food. Our favoured ferment would have to be that of Beer, Wine and Spirits. Poitin for example was and probably still is made with fermented potatoes.

The act of fermenting food and drink is in our evolutionary biology. In an age when antibiotics and prescription medicines are used to treat human ailments we are bypassing our age old remedies and choosing to treat the symptom rather than the real issue. Human nutrition and diet are areas that science, and the general public, are becoming increasingly engrossed in due to the anecdotal benefits that millions of people are experiencing using alternative routes to fixing contemporary issues.

The market has managed to sell items that we are attracted to through the evolutionary scarcity of sugar, fat and salt with great success. We are able to notice now 60-70 years later that many of the treats and mass produced generic foods we have been consuming are actually making people sick and unhealthy. Obesity, heart disease and cancer are all extremely prevalent in our society. Many of the illnesses that people suffer from in the 21st century are not issues those of a less abundant past had to deal with. As people live a more sedentary lifestyle diet has become a major issue. The foods people consume affect their mood, waistline and health. Changing your diet in small ways consistently can really improve your quality of life. What you put in is what you get out!

We like to think of fermented foods and beverages as an actual food group in itself, a slow food group. Here at KO we are in constant pursuit of new ferments to experiment with in our daily lives. There are so many foods and drinks to choose from the options are endless. If you cant find any talks or workshops in your area then there are countless articles online that will teach you how to make some bubbly drinks and cutting edge Kimchi.

Making fermented foods does take time but that is the beauty of the process. You are consciously working with your food in order to reap the nutritional benefit. The probiotic nature of fermented foods makes our ability to digest much more efficient. Our bodies are more enlivened when we preserve and consume foods with beneficial bacteria. We should remember that these traditional drinks and foods were passed down from generation to generation out of necessity. The Modern way is to speedily consume without question, ferments are about taking your time and consciously taking in foods that are bio-available rather than profit producing.

KO Kombucha is one of the many functional fermented beverages that can enrich your gut-biome with positive probiotics. We encourage people to learn more about fermented foods and how they can aid your day to day lives.

If you would like to learn more KO will be running a Fermentation Workshop in early 2018. Check out our events page for more details.

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