Monday, August 31, 2015

Fermentation -- Food Preservation.

Tom's Journal.

We made our own Sauerkraut on the farm and had friends who did the same.   Now days, almost everything is processed !  The next time you go to the grocery store, please take a look at ALL THE REGULAR Main Line Distributor's  "Honey'" and see that MOST OF IT comes from Processed 'High Fructose Corn Syrup  ! !'   Yes!    YOU THOUGHT THAT YOU WERE BUYING THE GOOD, NATURAL FOOD FOR YOUR FAMILY, right ???    But  you were fooled, again !   Email me for a special place to buy raw, unpasteurized, quality, REAL Honey. 
       Sorry to burst your bubbles today.....   But the 'good stuff' can and will keep you alive, and can be used for barter, Medicine,  helping to heal open wounds, etc.,  after the stink hits the fan...   ponder on this.    This is one reason why I pour through various "Prepping Journals," to find out the truth of who is profiting from lies, fake products, and money making schemes.... and who is the real McCoy !  
     Also, in back of the 'DEFINED KJV Bible' are pages that show and prove that most, if not ALL of the "Modern Day" renditions of the bible have been abused, removed, changed, for the worse !!   See:    --- and learn the real Truth.


Fermentation as a Means of Food Preservation: Part I

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest –Bam Bam
Along with drying and freezing, fermentation is one of the oldest known methods of food preservation. Archeological evidence suggests humans began fermenting foods as early as the Neolithic period. Of course the chemistry involved was not understood; primitive cultures often attributed the chemical transformation of fermentation to the deities of the day. The earliest ferments were likely mead, beer, wine, leavened bread, pickled vegetables and the various fermented milk products (yogurt and kefir).
Fermentation is the chemical transformation of raw food by microorganisms such as molds, bacteria and/or yeasts. Fermented foods are living foods—they contain live bacteria and live enzymes. In contrast, most food people eat today dead. For example, canning foods involves sterilization. The milk we drink is pasteurized. The problem is that sterilization and pasteurization kill not only the bad bacteria; such processing also kills the good bacteria. And without the good bacteria our guts are poorly equipped to break down and absorb nutrients, and to fight off bacteria which cause illness.
The health benefits of eating probiotic-rich fermented foods are clear. Fermentation increases the level of essential nutrients over the raw ingredients, and makes these nutrients more bioavailable. For example, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is rich in vitamin C. (That’s why ships back in the day carried barrels of kraut.) Although this may sound gross, think of fermentation as pre-digestion. Fermented foods are easy on the digestive system because bacterial has already begun the process of breaking down the food.
Consuming fermented foods improves the immune system. Did you know that 80 percent of your immune system originates in your gut? A flourishing microbiome helps reduce inflammation, eliminates toxins, reduces the risk of allergies and other pollutants, promotes mental health and reduces risk of a wide variety of diseases including autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and autism. (For more information on this, see David Perlmutter’s Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain—For Life. Dr. Perlmutter is a board certified neurologist.)
So now we know that fermented foods have a long and rich history, and that they optimize health. Why would a prepper be interested in fermentation? First and foremost, that’s how folks preserved food before the invention of refrigeration. In a post-collapse, grid-down society we won’t likely have access to refrigeration. Second, although drying and freezing are important, in a grid-down situation they would be contingent on weather conditions. Third, although canning is great, it requires canning jars and lids, as well as a heat source—canning will require a lot of wood, a precious commodity in a grid-down situation.
Fermentation is an ideal way to preserve food because it renders food more bioavailable, it preserves food without refrigeration and it does not require a source of heat. In its most basic form fermenting requires only fresh vegetables and salt (and a container to hold the ferments).
As this post is very long, I have broken it down into multiple parts. In the remainder of Part I, I give an overview of salt, the one absolutely essential ingredient in most ferments. If you have salt, you can ferment just about any kind of vegetable; the only exception here seems to be tomatoes. But tomatoes are a summer crop and can easily be sun-dried. Part II briefly outlines the equipment necessary to get started with fermenting, and covers vegetable fermentations. In Part III, I discuss milk fermentations and fermented beverages.
My aim in writing this post is to start a discussion on fermentation. In a post-collapse, grid down situation would you know how to preserve food if you didn’t have access to refrigeration or canning jars? Cultures the world over used fermentation as a means of food preservation. There is a whole range of know-how that was lost with the advent of refrigeration. I want to rediscover that ancient wisdom.
A Primer on Salt
Salt is an essential nutrient. Our bodies cannot generate salt. Therefore salt must come from the foods we eat. Without salt you will die. Without salt your family will die. It is that simple.
Salt comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Most people are familiar with the basic kinds of salt: table salt, kosher salt, canning salt and sea salt. These salts are not readily interchangeable in recipes. You need to know what you are doing if you want to do substitutions.
Table Salt
Table salt is the most common type of salt used in the U.S. and most of us know this under the brand name “Morton”. Table salt contains iodine, an element necessary for healthy thyroid. (It also contains anti-caking agents.) In 1924 the U.S. government asked Morton to add iodine to table salt because soil some regions of the country (Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes) were deficient in this element. Prior to this time, 90 percent of people who developed a goiter (thyroid problem) did so because of an iodine deficiency. Today goiters due to lack of iodine is exceedingly rare in the U.S., although it continues to be a problem in developing countries.
The downside of adding iodine and anti-caking agents to table salt is that table salt “can’t” be used for canning or fermenting. I put the word “can’t” in scare quotes because in a post-collapse situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to use table salt if that’s all I had on hand. The only reason table salt is not ideal for canning or fermenting is that the additives discolor the fruits and vegetables, and make the brine cloudy.
Although table salt is highly processed (much like white bread is highly processed), white table salt still has some use—it is ideal for cleaning woks.
Kosher Salt
Kosher salt is often preferred for cooking because it doesn’t have iodine and typically doesn’t have caking agents (though you need check the label to make sure). The primary use of kosher salt is for preserving meats. It is coarse-grained with an irregular shape, which renders it ideal for drawing out blood during the butchering process. Kosher salt is also great for making rubs for meat. I prefer to use kosher salt for soaking my Thanksgiving turkey and rubbing my Christmas prime rib.
Kosher salt is not ideal for fermenting because it is much saltier than canning salt. (If all you have on hand is kosher salt, make sure the brand you are using doesn’t have anti-caking agents and reduce the amount of salt by 50 percent. One and one half cups of kosher salt is equivalent to one cup of canning salt.)
Canning Salt (Pickling Salt)
Canning salt (also called “pickling salt”) is the purest kind of salt you can buy. It doesn’t contain iodine so it won’t discolor the vegetables. It doesn’t contain anti-caking agents so it won’t discolor the brine. Canning salt is very fine grained so it dissolves quickly. For these reasons, it is ideal for fermentation.
The only downside of canning salt is that it doesn’t contain anti-caking additives. That means it will tend to form clumps in humid environments. If I could only stock one kind of salt it would be canning salt. It can be used for cooking, baking, preserving, fermenting and canning.
Sea Salt
Sea salt is a bit of a misnomer. All salt comes from the sea, either from the oceans that exist today or from ancient seabed deposits. And all salt is composed of the same two elements, sodium and chloride. So what’s the big deal with sea salt?
Well for starters sea salt has a pyramid-like shape so it dissolves quicker than other types of salt. Sea salt is also less processed than table salt. Sea salt contains trace minerals, which give the various kinds of sea salts their distinctive colors. Many recipes for ferments call for sea salt. That’s fine. But I tend to stick with canning salt, as canning salt is typically less expensive than high-quality sea salts. I will discuss only a few kinds of sea salt though there are numerous varieties.
One of the most common sea salts is Himalayan sea salt with is pink in hue, a result of its abundant trace minerals and high iron content. This salt is hand harvested from ancient seabeds near Pakistan. Himalayan sea salt is prized because it is both pure and unrefined. It is 250 million years old and hence untouched by the pollution of the modern world. Himalayan sea salt can be used just like table salt; it is, however, superior to table salt in that it has a much softer flavor. If you could choose only one gourmet salt, I would recommend Himalayan sea salt.
Sel Gris is a gray colored salt from France. It is harvested by hand using only wooden tools. It gets its distinctive gray color from the clay that lines the salt ponds in the Brittany area of France. Most people use kosher salt for meat rubs but Sel Gris is superior—it makes for a more moist roasted meat.
Fleur de Sel is the crème de la crème of finishing salts. It comes from the Guérande region of France and it is harvested by hand using traditional Celtic methods. Fleur de Sel is very expensive and is typically only used by professional chefs

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