Natural Health => Nutrition & Food => Fermented Foods => : healthybratt April 12, 2006, 02:19:21 PM

: About Fermentation
: healthybratt April 12, 2006, 02:19:21 PM
Anyone ever heard of Miso?  Anyone know the benefits/drawbacks?  For anyone who doesn't know - it's a paste made of fermented soybeans.  It's a staple in many Asian cultures.  They use it probably as much as Americans eat catsup (or more). 

Anyway, we eat hot pepper paste which is made of miso, sweetner (sometimes high fructose corn syrup, but I try to find it with sweet rice flour instead) and crushed hot red peppers.  We eat a lot of this in our house and my mother-in-law has been eating it for years and she's a pretty healthy mama.  The only thing I've noticed is that now that she is post-menopausal, she still has trouble with hot flashes.  She also eats tofu and soybean sprouts, but not many "processed" soy foods.  She's also not a very big fan of sugar/chocolate/sweets, etc (unless I make her some cherry/rhubarb pie  ;)).
: About Fermentation
: Gabe Rising April 21, 2006, 07:19:23 PM
I have never eaten Miso, but I would bet that fermented Soy is a very healthy way to eat Soy. There is something about fermented foods that seems to be particularly good for humans. Google "fermented foods" to get and idea...


: About Fermentation
: dara April 22, 2006, 02:04:40 AM
Healthybratt- first of all, thank you for the asian food ideas. Do you make your own miso? Is your kimchi fermented? I am just starting to learn about lacto-fermentation, and figured ethnic is a good place to start.
: About Fermentation
: healthybratt April 22, 2006, 08:56:14 AM
Healthybratt- first of all, thank you for the asian food ideas. Do you make your own miso? Is your kimchi fermented? I am just starting to learn about lacto-fermentation, and figured ethnic is a good place to start.

I don't make my own Miso.  I'm not sure I could do that cheaper than I can buy it, because I only use the stuff pre-seasoned with ground red pepper.  Then I mix the pepper paste with white vinegar and toasted sesame seeds for dipping.  I also cook with the paste in my dishes.

The kimchi is fresh when I make it and we eat it that way, but it ferments naturally after about a week or so in the frige, faster if you leave it out of the frige.  You can eat it after fermented indefinately, but it tends to get pretty sour after 3-6 months.
: About Fermentation
: dara April 22, 2006, 10:49:51 AM
Can I have your Kimchi "recipe"? Thanks!
: About Fermentation
: healthybratt April 22, 2006, 11:31:44 AM
Can I have your Kimchi "recipe"? Thanks!

It's on a thread called Anyone For Korean? (http://welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,44.msg122.html#msg122)
: About Fermentation
: healthybratt April 22, 2006, 02:07:11 PM
: dara
I am interested to learn more about fermentation.

quoted from The Importance of Fermentation (http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/Fermentation.html) by Eric Armstrong

Elsewhere, I've described kimchi as "the healthiest food on the planet". (See What Makes Kimchi so Healthy? (http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/KimchiHealthy.html)). But in addition to the ingredients it contains, it is the fermentation process that is largely responsible for making kimchi so beneficial.

Why Fermentation is Healthy

The definition of fermentation is "breaking down into simpler components". Fermentation makes the foods easier to digest and the nutrients easier to assimilate. In effect, much of the work of digestion is done for you. Since it doesn't use heat, fermentation also retains enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients that are usually destroyed by food processing.

The active cultures that pre-digest the food as part of the fermentation process actually generate nutrients. So there are more vitamins--especially B-vitamins--and minerals like iron are released from the chemical bonds that prevent them from being assimilated. In effect, the nutritional value of a food goes up when it has been fermented..

The fermentation process also preserves the food. You start with a wholesome, raw food and preserve it in a way that leaves its nutrients intact, so you have the health benefits of raw food with having to run to the grocery store every other day for more--which is what happens, unless you're lucky enough to have a garden.

Note, too, that it's especially important to ferment (or otherwise prepare) the cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabibrussels sprouts, and turnip greens.) Those vegetables have important anti-cancer properties. But if they're not cooked or fermented first, they tend to depress the thyroid, which lowers your energy and gives you a tendency to gain weight. (That's generally not a problem in small quantities, but it can become one if you eat a lot of these vegetables.)

On the other hand, the cruciferous vegetables can be overcooked, too. That makes fermentation an ideal way to unlock the nutrients in cruciferous vegetables, because there is no risk of overcooking.

The boody line is that fermentation is an important part of the process, when making cabbage-based kimchi.
How Fermentation Works

The critical ingredients for the fermentation process are:

    * Salt (sea salt)
    * Lack of oxygen
    * Cool temperature

Salting the food preserves the food and protects it from bacteria, so it doesn't spoil before it ferments. Sea salt is most desirable for that purpose, rather than table salt. (Table salt has been bleached and has had other important minerals removed.)

Once the food is salted, it needs to be kept in a cool place with minimal oxygen.

To keep the contents cool, Koreans have traditionally placed their Kimchi pots in the ground, which stays at 55 degrees year-round. Basements and root cellars are also good. For the rest of us, one author recommended using a small refrigerator at the least cool temperature setting.

The final step is keeping the air out, which allows fermentation to occur. It's a process that only takes place in the absence of oxygen. That's why an apple core rots at the bottom of a garbage can, but simply dries out at the top. So you keep stirring compost to keep it from fermenting (and smelling), but you want your kimchi to ferment. Go figure. (The fermentation does produce a bit of an odor, but you get used to it.)..
from http://www.treelight.com/health/

A Note on Kimchee:  My mother-in-law is Korean and has been making Kimchee all her life. (http://welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,44.0.html)  She explained to me the reasons why they buried Kimchee.  Most of the stories I've heard were that Asians bury kimchee because they lacked appropriate refrigeration and were unable to store it, but MIL says that's just not so.  She told me that Kimchee was traditionally made in pots that were large enough to hold 2 or 3 people standing up.  It was necessary to dig a hole to keep the pot in to make it accessable for using it, otherwise, you'd need a ladder to dump in the Kimchee.  Many families would spend their entire harvest season making large batches of Kimchee to fill up this pot to last until the next harvest or until it ran out.  Refrigeration will keep the Kimchee from fermenting for awhile so that you can eat it fresh, but due to the fermentation, refrigeration is not necessary for storing it.  However, in the winter time, it would get very cold and to keep the Kimchee and the pot from freezing, they would put a tight lid on the pot and cover it with straw and then dirt to protect it from the weather.  Also the above author says in his "Ultimate Kimchee Recipe" that you need vinegar for fermentation - this is also not true.  In fact Nancy Lee Bentley says in her article at mercola.com (http://www.mercola.com/2004/jan/3/fermented_foods.htm) that vinegar actually slows the fermentation process.  The salt and a tightly sealed jar tightly packed with your ingredients does the trick!

Here's some more info on lacto-fermentation
Tickled with pickles (http://www.eagletribune.com/news/stories/20050209/LI_001.htm)


: Re: About Fermentation
: dara April 22, 2006, 02:37:47 PM
Thank you! I am also reading Maker's Diet, and Nurishing Traditions.
: Re: About Fermentation
: healthybratt April 22, 2006, 04:45:13 PM
Here's more on Soy Fermentation (http://www.tempeh.info/fermentation/soy-fermentation.html)

Soy Bad,  Soy Good:  The Pluses of Fermented Soy (http://welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,124.msg1765.html#msg1765)