"Humans did not invent or create fermentation; it would be more accurate to state that fermentation created us."
-Sandor Ellix Katz, The Art of Fermentation, page 1
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and yogurt have so many health benefits. They support the healthy microorganisms in our digestive tract that we can't live without and they improve our ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
If fermenting your own foods is daunting, take some help from these two books.
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is an essential and comprehensive guide to fermentation. In this well-researched book, Katz discusses the benefits of fermentation, details the mechanisms behind it, and explains techniques for fermenting almost anything, from fruits, flowers, and beans to meat, fish, and even eggs.
Discover how to make your own ferments, from pickles and tempeh to saké and cider. Learn why fermented foods are safer than canned foods and even raw foods (on pages 19 and 20), and why some disease-causing bacteria like H. pylori may actually be essential to our health (on page 14).
Katz writes, "If our evolutionary imperative is to adapt to shifting conditions, then we must embrace, encourage, and work with microorganisms rather than attempting, however futilely, to eradicate them." I completely agree.
Fermented Foods for Health by Dr. Deirdre Rawlings is another good resource. It's full of recipes and includes meal plans for common health problems like weight gain and digestive, immune, and metabolic disorders.
Fermentation enthusiasts will enjoy recipes like Coconut Milk Keffir (on page 150), Tempeh Burgers (on page 144), and Wild Honey Mead (on page 188).
Personally, I'm looking forward to making my own Fermented Fish Sauce (on page 172), Fermented Chili Sauce (on page 177), Fermented Mediterranean Mackerel (on page 168), and Cleansing Beets with Ginger and Grapefruit (on page 105).
And if you haven't already, read Cooked to follow Michael Pollan's adventures in DIY fermentation.