Pickling & Fermentation
Inspiration | 2nd August 2019
Gillian McConnell is consultant dietician to Musgrave MarketPlace. Below Gillian discusses Pickling & Fermentation and the part it plays for your menu and your customers gut health.
Humans have been consuming fermented foods and beverages for thousands of years and in recent times artisan manufacturing of these products has created a trend, along with a sparked interest in their health properties, in particular, knowledge increase around human gut microbiota.
Many fermented foods contain 1 million to 1 billion different microbes per gram and several of which survive passing through the digestive tract, so eating fermented foods could increase the number of microbes in the diet by up to 10,000-fold. Species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium crowd out the pathogens, helping to maintain gut barrier function and nourish the colonic cells to enhance gut health. Fermented dairy is often more digestible, producing dairy peptides that have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and may contribute to lowering blood pressure and improving immune function. Fermentation of fibre rich foods produce bioactive compounds which may help strengthen immunity and reduce inflammation.
Fermentation can occur naturally or through careful addition of a starter culture. These include fresh kimchi, sauerkraut, as well as live yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, unpasteurised miso, some cheeses, cured olives, traditional salami or dry fermented sausages. The difficulty however, is that fermented food must retain an adequate level of live microbes to have genuine health benefits and many foods are often not tested to determine whether they confer these benefits. Manufacturers now often add probiotics to fermented foods enhancing their efficacy, such as adding them to yoghurt, which also acts as a delivery vehicle for the probiotic.
Diners are seeking more unusual flavours, so incorporating fermented foods from kitchen to plate is ideal to generate desirable tastes and textures. When using pickled vegetables in the kitchen, to ensure they contain probiotics the words ‘naturally fermented’ should be on the label and when opening the jar the tell-tale sign is bubbles in the liquid, which is a signal of live organisms present. I’d encourage tossing a little sauerkraut into a sandwich or wrap, topping a salad or adding kimchi to soups are great options.
Future research is needed to give us more clues as to how microbiome contributes to overall health and to pinpoint the exact microorganisms that could target specific diseases. But until then, it is certainly no harm to include various fermented foods in our diets to provide a spectrum of probiotics for your digestive tract.
Recipe for Spicy Pickled Vegetables
What You’ll Need
- 2 cups water
- 1 ¼ tablespoons Musgrave Excellence sea salt
- 1 jalapeno or a few hot chilli peppers sliced
- 1 large Seasonal Fare carrot cut into slices
- 1 to 2 cups small Seasonal Fare cauliflower florets
- 3 small Seasonal Fare celery stalks cut into sticks
- 1 Musgrave Excellence bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Seasonal Fare cabbage leaf
Putting It Together
Warm the water and stir in the sea salt until it dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Sterilise a glass jar in the sink by filling with boiling water. Empty the jar and tightly pack the cut vegetables and bay leaf inside to within 1 to 2 inches of the jar. Add the vinegar to the saltwater and pour the mixture into the jar within an inch of the top. Wedge the cabbage leaf over the top of the vegetables and tuck it around the edges to hold the vegetables beneath the liquid
Set the jar on the worktop and cover with a fermentation lid. Allow to pickle for 3 to 5 days depending on the indoor temperature. Make sure the vegetables stay packed beneath the level of liquid, adding salted water as needed.
Taste the vegetables between day 3 and 5 to determine your liking then store in the fridge. The vegetables will continue to pickle and keep for about one month.
Did you enjoy this post by Gillian? Why not find some more inspiration here.