Fabulous Fermentation

Before leaving Indiapolis in April 2010, I had a business of making what I call Cultured Vegetables and Coconut Water Kefir.  I learned the skill from my mother, Nancy Spahr of Cleansing Waters in Indy.  She has taught me all about Nutrition and the importance of Probiotics in our diets in various forms.  I am very passionate about food, but more so I think on finding out what I don't want to eat and replacing it with all the good stuff.  Raising my child in a healthy manner has proved more of a challenge than I ever expected and I now understand what women everywhere go through on a daily basis.  My passion for creating Culured Vegtables has not waivered even though my business has.  Every three months I go back to the States with Liliana and we make batches of veggies for my mom's Colon Hydroptherapy clinic, but I no longer do the Farmer's Markets, which was always so much fun.  I hope to keep it up in the summer when we return again.

Meanwhile in El Salvador I have made Cultured Veggies several times, but Ball Jars do not exsist here and finding any glass container is a rare thing so I have not been able to keep up with eating as much as we all could use, especially here.  We do have a woman that comes by our house almost every day selling fresh coconuts so I have been able to keep up with the Coconut Water Kefir and keep Liliana drinking it along with our Green Drinks in the mornings.  But enough about me!  

We've all eaten sauerkraut, but most of us haven't really eaten a true cultured food that contains all the life-giving elements of traditionally cultured vegetables.  CV's as we like to call them, are delicious and highly nutrient-dense food made from organic cabbage and other organice vegetables.  They are chopped and shredded and then combined with L. Plantarum probiotic.  They are then packed into airtight containers and left to ferment (or culture) for about a week.  Following the steps to culture vegetables provides the perfect environment in which the bacteria that is naturally present on vegetables can grow and reproduce.  This traditional method of culturing preserves and enhances all veggies, allowing their full flavor to come out and their health-promoting properties to flourish.  

As a traditional food craft, culturing veggies doesn't succeed very often on an industrial scale.  Thus, the time-honored methods have been discarded for commercial processes which include the use of vinegar for the brine, making the product more acidic.   Also the process of pasteurization has taken over, effectively killing the ezymes and beneficial bacteria naturally present.  We have forgotten the old ways and compromised the health of our intestinal systems, which has made us more vulnerable to the onslaught of pathogenic microorganisms and degenerative diseases.  

As humans, we are intended to receive the implantation of healthy microflora through our mother's milk and are designed to keep a proper bacterial balance throughout our lives.  Unfortunately the overuse of antibiotics and other drugs, over-processed and fiber-less foods, sugar, stress and a toxic environment, most of our bodies are far from balanced.  A wonderful method of regaining this important balance are eating Cultured Vegetables!  CV's are full of beneficial bacteria and other essential nutrients and can be more cost effective then continually buying probiotic supplements, which I'm not opposed to and take regularly myself.  

CV's are an ideal food with endless possibilities of ways to eat them.  They are an attractive garnish, great on salads and their juices can replace vinegar or lemon juice in a salad dressing.  You can wrap them in tortillas or serve them with tortilla chips in place of salsa (my favorite).  You can also try topping the veggies with olive oil, pumpkin seed oil (other favorite), sea salt, miso or tamari.  The only thing you don't ever want to do with your veggies is heat them.  Heating them causes the valuable enzymes and bacteria to be destroyed.  

Remember, commerically produced foods, such as sauerkraut lose thir valuable nutrients during processing (unless it is raw), whereas naturally cultured vegetables possess increased nutritional components.  Let's all bring back the old ways of preserving for optimal health and longevity!  

For more information about cultured veggies, email culturedfoods@gmail.com.

If you live in the Indianapolis area, check out Cleansing Waters on Indy's NE side to pick up a jar of fresh veggies available all year.  Custom orders are available as well as classes, so don't hesitate to contact me for more valuable information.