Fermented foods are living foods. They are full of healthy bacteria and yeasts, which help the body function properly. They help regulate and balance the immune system, and they help break down foods into absorbable elements, and they help the body to be able to absorb the nutrients that are available. This affects every system in the body, and contributes to good health in ways we do not realize until we start to feel better.
The commercial food industry has robbed fermented foods of the living elements. With only a few exceptions, foods sold in the stores are dead, embalmed, and contain only a mere shadow of the nutrition of freshly prepared foods.
Commercially prepared fermented foods are generally prepared in three ways:
1. Live fermented non-dairy. Very few foods are prepared this way, and those that are are then heat-preserved, thereby destroying the probiotic benefits.
2. Vinegar pickled. Instead of using traditional fermentation processes, many foods are quick-pickled using vinegar. Vinegar is a fermented food as well, so it would be a good choice if live culture vinegar were used, but it is not. Pasteurized (dead) vinegar is used instead. These foods do not contain probiotics, because they are heat processed with vinegar, or short term brined, and they are always heat processed to seal them.
3. Live fermented dairy products. Most of these are packaged and sold as live-culture foods. Some are pasteurized prior to packaging and resale. Even the live ones lack the benefits of naturally fermented foods, for two reasons. First, the cultures are carefully controlled – they have specific bacteria added to pasteurized milk and cultured. They lack the full complement of healthy bacteria and yeast found in naturally fermented foods. Second, they are mass processed in industrial facilities, using dairy products which have been mass produced from industrial ag dairies, and then handled in another industrial facility prior to reaching the final destination. This increases the potential for dangerous contamination exponentially, at a number of points in the process, and pasteurization does not compensate for this potential. This means that these products are more likely to be exposed to superbug contamination after culturing with the probiotic cultures. And when that happens, the end user gets seriously ill – because natural fermentation provides some defenses against superbugs. Controlled culture fermentation does not provide the same protections, because some of the naturally occurring healthy bacteria and yeast which limits the growth of superbugs is not present during fermentation. Yeast, in particular, aids in limiting the growth of superbugs, and yeast is pretty much never added to dairy cultures deliberately.
So the foods you buy, even in the BEST situation where you are able to obtain live culture foods, still lack the full benefit of naturally fermented, living foods.
Fermentation is a process, not an event. It is not something that you set up, and it happens one day, and then stops. It is an evolution, a gradual state of change, from fresh, to lightly fermented, to heavily fermented, to aged and past the optimum flavor and benefit.
The flavor and bacterial and fungal (yeast are fungus) content changes throughout the entire process. It is not the same any two days. Truly living food will be slightly different every time you eat it, just as a tomato ripens, and is a different experience one day than it will be the next. And just like a ripe tomato, a fermented food has many phases during which it is good.
The manner in which it is fermented will affect, to a certain extent, the variety of microbes that affect the food. Improperly fermented foods WILL culture unwanted microbes which can be harmful – but they typically display evidence of their presence which will alert you (appearance, smell, etc). Because of the wider variety of healthy microbes, naturally fermented foods withstand contamination better than foods that are cultured with a carefully selected group of cultures – this is why kefir ferments nicely at room temperature, but yogurt has to be heat fermented under controlled circumstances. Kefir is easier to manage, and requires far less care, and continues to propagate indefinitely, because of the wide variety of healthy microbes that simply overpower and grow faster than the unhealthy ones.
So what if some unhealthy ones DO get in there? This typically isn’t even a problem. They DO get in! And some even grow and multiply! They just do not do so at a fast enough rate to make you sick (we aren’t talking about stuff you can smell or mold you can see – items that smell off or have visible mold should be discarded, we are just talking about small amounts that you cannot see). They do establish JUST ENOUGH of a presence though, to expose your body to them, so that your immune system is strengthened, and you build up a resistance to them. Their presence is a benefit, not a threat, but the presence of some unhealthy bacteria may be the reason why fermented foods cause loose stools or mild upset stomachs the first few times they are eaten (this is common with kefir) – it takes a couple of exposures for your body to adapt, but when it does, the benefit is more than worth it, because this exposure helps make the body more resistant to superbugs! For more information on good and bad microbes, read this article: Good Germs, Bad Germs
Most people who ferment their own foods state taste and texture as a compelling benefit to fermenting vegetables themselves. And I gotta say, homemade pickles are crisp and have a snappy flavor that you just can’t get from a grocery store jar of pickles. Homemade kraut is crunchy and lively, and not that limp single flavor stuff you get in a can.
Yes, you can buy crisp pickles. But they are made using chemicals to keep the crunch through the canning process. You can get the same results at home using grape, raspberry, or horseradish leaves in the bottom of the fermenting container.
Home fermented foods DO taste different. Some people do not welcome the change. But the cool thing is, you have some control over it at home! If you don’t like the results, then change it! Change the ingredients, monitor the flavor through the fermentation process so you know where you like it best, or ferment it in a cooler location to develop the flavors more slowly (some people say this makes the flavors more complex). If you don’t like the product at the store, it is always going to be the same way. If you don’t like something you made, then you can do something about it!
Many people credit home fermenting with improvements in their health. We’re talking the big stuff – healing from bowel disease, heart and circulatory problems, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, auto-immune disease, food sensitivities, persistent obesity, and more. I don’t feel it is all that – but I do think it is just another piece in the process of eating healthy. I feel that when combined with removal of chemicals from the diet, and eating whole and fresh foods instead of refined foods, fermented foods are part of achieving and maintaining good health. I also feel that by themselves, they won’t make much of a difference – you really have to remove the causes of the problems (chemicals and refined foods), and replace them with a variety of truly healthy foods.
If you aren’t sure, go give it a try.
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
Wholesale, Export, and Manufacture of this product by other companies is an option. International distributorships are available for those wishing to export. Please email us to inquire about access to our wholesale website, or in regards to manufacturing any of our products.
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