A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Charleston Farmer’s Market at Marion Square. I was speaking to quite a few of the vendors but one vendor particularly stood out. His name is Ken Jaimes from Kenchi Ferments. Ken was such a nice man and very knowledgeable in the field of fermentation. I sampled two of his Kenchi’s; Mustard Kale Kenchi and Orange Coriander Kenchi. Each Kenchi was equally delicious and really satisfied my palate for tart, tangy foods. I purchased one jar of each to bring home with me.
I have done a lot of research in the past about fermentation but I have never really had the opportunity to sample different flavors and choose one that really sang to me. Fermented vegetables can be pretty pricey at the market and without being able to sample them it was kind of a deal breaker for me because what if I didn’t like it? All that money down the drain, right?
Once I returned home, I started eating about 1/2 cup of Kenchi with either lunch or supper each day. To be honest, I loved these flavors so much I couldn’t wait until the following day so I could eat more. What I didn’t expect was how after just one and a half weeks of eating 1/2 cup of fermented vegetables daily my stomach bloat had significantly reduced. I am elated!
I have had digestion problems since entering midlife to the degree that stomach bloat makes me feel fat, sluggish and pregnant on a daily basis. It really is miserable. I knew I needed to add a good probiotic to my diet but I found probiotic supplements expensive and unnatural. I am also not a big fan of yogurt. I like it once in awhile but certainly not to the degree it is needed to correct gut flora.
In my research, the fermentation process adds wide array of health benefits to vegetables:
- Probiotics; introduce beneficial bacteria into our bodies restoring the balance of gut flora;
- Better Absorption of Food; a healthier gut equals improved digestion and nutrients, vitamins and minerals are better absorbed;
- Improves Your Immune System; a healthy gut is a major factor in maintaining good health and a strong immune system is our first defense against diseases;
- Detox; The beneficial bacteria in fermented vegetables are also capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals;
- A Great Way To Preserve Vegetables; what a great way to preserve spring and summer vegetables to have during the winter. Hey our ancestors did it why shouldn’t we?
I am so impressed with the results I got from fermented vegetables that I plan on making it a daily staple in my diet. So much so, that I have decided to begin fermenting my own vegetables! The process is simplicity at its finest; a variety of chopped vegetables, salt, seasonings such as mustard seed, coriander seed, dill or garlic and some spring water is all that is needed.
However, I am a newbie at this so I decided to begin by purchasing the Go Ferment! Wide Mouth Mason Jar Mold Free Anaerobic Fermenting Kit from Amazon.com. The price for this kit is $25.99 which is equal to 2 jars of Ken’s Kenchi and to me this will be a much less expensive way to incorporate the fermentation process into my daily diet. I know I’ll be seeing Ken again, his ferments are lovely and I can’t wait to see what else he comes with!
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Other added benefits to making your own are:
- You choose your own vegetables and ingredients (organic vegetables, herbs and spices);
- You can create your own recipes that meet your preferred tastes;
- It’s a splendid way to preserve all the wonderful produce of Spring and Summer to enjoy during the Winter
I know fermented vegetables aren’t for everyone. In some cases it’s an acquired taste but with all the benefits you receive why not give them a go. You never know you just might like them.
Have you tried fermented vegetables? Do you make your own?
See you in the comments,