Why fermented vegetables?
Fresh veggies are beautiful and delicious and irreplaceable, that should never be overlooked. However, there are so many great reasons to include a substantial amount of fermented vegetable in your diet as well.
The Human microbiome:
Every human being is in an unimaginably complex relationship with thousands of varieties of single celled organisms. In fact, in the human body, microbial cells out number human cells 10-to-1, and all these little microbes are engaged in an all encompassing bio-chemical interchange with each other and with their human host. This eco-system within a body is known as the human microbiome, and scientists are just beginning to understand how important it is for human health.
Microorganism can be found in many places in the body in varying concentration, one of the largest and most concentrated populations is in the digestive system, and keeping this intestinal ecosystem healthy is essential for a healthy life. Like all ecosystems the one in your gut needs to be in balance. Unfortunately the common north american diet tends to promote the growth of opportunistic bacteria and yeast, and if these populations become too large it can lead to the degradation of the intestinal wall and some serious health consequences. Having a steady intake of beneficial bacteria is one way to maintain well balanced intestinal flora, and that's exactly why we think that unpasteurized fermented vegetable products, which are loaded with beneficial bacteria, are so important.
As mentioned above fresh vegetable are amazing, but if you live in Vancouver and eat locally then you don't have access to very many fresh vegetable throughout the winter. Like most people in Vancouver, we don't solely eat foods that are locally grown or in season, but we enjoy it and try to as much as possible. One way people all over the world have been preserving vegetable for winter months is by fermenting them and this remains a great way to eat local ingredients throughout the winter. The fermentation method results in little or no nutrient loss and maintains enzyme activity, some vitamins and nutrients are actually increased through the fermentation process!
A NOTE ON SALT
Salt is extremely important, a human body cannot function without it. At Lakehouse foods we've made a habit of looking closely at every ingredient we use, including salt. We found that with salt, like so many thing, not all are created equal, and there are choices to be made. We choose to use only two kinds of salt in all our recipes; one is Himalayan crystal salt, and the other is sun-dried seas salt. We use these salts because both are unrefined and have very high mineral content. We often blend the two together because although Himalayan salt is very pure, it contains no naturally occurring iodine. The sun-dried sea salt supplies a healthy dose of naturally occurring iodine, which is important to consume on a daily basis.
The taste of time:
One friend of ours described fermentation as imbuing foods with the complex and mysterious essence of time its-self. Fermented foods exist on their own special flavour plane, they are innumerably variable, and inescapably alluring. We celebrate fermentation for the deep flavours that result, and delight in the task of working with its many mysteries.