Millennium Post

Ferment food for the gut

Ferment food for the gut
Ever wondered how food was preserved at a time when there were no refrigerators or electricity and only Grandma or Mother Nature to turn to? It was the practice of either fermentation or dehydrating food, that preserved eatables. Common during the Paleolithic age, when food just involved hunting and gathering jungle produce, fermentation as a process has been practised by all communities and tribes and is making a big comeback in modern kitchens. Dehydrated and fermented food is so common that most of the time we fail to notice it. Fish is dehydrated or fermented and meat is smoked and dehydrated.

Milk is preserved by fermentation to produce cheese.Fresh vegetables are dehydrated or pickled to last harsh winters or desert summers in many places around the world. Grains are fermented in many ways to make a meal that aids sleep and digestion. Many tribes make fermented beverages in their own way using different grains, fruits or starchy tubers, whatever grows in abundance locally.

Fermented fish paste, fermented soyabeans and pantabhat or pakhalabhat are common among Indian regional as well as tribal cuisine. Almost all communities in India have some festival around the spring season that revolves around ‘stale food’. This overnight stale food is purposely kept at room temperature and often gets sour, but the custom is not to reheat it and eat it for all meals the next day. This has been a great way to introduce the body to the coming season’s probiotic as well as pathogenic microbes. The probiotic bacteria help build good immunity, boosting gut flora, and the inoculation with pathogenic bacteria in small numbers prepares the immune system for seasonal illnesses by switching on the Immunoglobulin M protein, a basic antibody, as the first immune response.

By arrangement with DownToEarth
Sangeeta Khanna

Sangeeta Khanna

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