Fermentation is a process in which bacteria, fungi and yeast are used to make food products. Perhaps that doesn’t sound very attractive, but did you know these bacteria are actually very healthy? And did you know that fermented products like miso and sauerkraut are actually very tasty? Today, Viviane Van Dyck teaches you how to ferment, yourself.


17-10-2016 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Transcript

Fermentation is a process in which bacteria, fungi and yeast are used to make food products. Perhaps that doesn’t sound very attractive, but did you know these bacteria are actually very healthy? And did you know that fermented products like miso and sauerkraut are actually very tasty? Today, Viviane Van Dyck teaches you how to ferment, yourself.

 

Hello Viviane.

 

Hello.

 

Welcome back to our studio.

 

Thank you for having me.

 

Today’s topic is fermentation.

 

Yes.

 

What is that about?

 

Oh, it’s a very important old method to keep your food. Okay. - So for instance, in Spring, we have lots of vegetables… or in Autumn, we have lots of vegetables and we can’t eat them all in one week. So what do we do with the produce of the garden? We, for instance, ferment it. So it stays good for a longer period of time but it has a…

 

Can’t we just use a freezer?

 

No. I was just going to explain.

 

Okay, okay. I’m sorry.

 

So back in those days, those days where fermentation was, everybody did it. They didn’t have freezers, yes? So other things they used to keep their foods was for instance, they dried it. Or they kept it in lots of salt. Or they smoked it. But those ways of keeping your food don’t add something to the food. Fermenting food adds something very important to the food. It adds bacteria. It adds the right bacteria. Now, it’s very important to have the right bacteria inside your body. Because they help you make things like important vitamins, enzymes, coenzymes. They help you digest, for instance, protein. So it’s very important to feed your body with bacteria. But there’s also something that maybe you didn’t know. For every body cell we have, we have ten bacteria. So actually, instead of having a body, we are a host for ten times more bacteria than body cells. And it’s very important to live in a very good balance with the bacteria. If you have the wrong balance with the bacteria in your body, you are likely to develop, for instance, fungus or infections.

 

And we don’t want that.

 

No. No, we don’t.

 

And can you ferment everything?

 

Yes, you can ferment a lot of things. In Japan, for instance, they ferment grains and beans and that’s called miso.

 

Yes.

 

And that’s a thing you can also buy here, in an actual food shop and you can add it, for instance, to your soup. But it’s very important to not boil the soup once the miso got in there. Because when you boil the soup with the miso, then lots of bacteria will die.

 

So first make the soup?

 

Yes. Make the soup, and then when the soup is finished, you’ve got your vegetable soup without any taste to it. You turn off the fire, you take hot water from the soup. You dissolve your miso in it and then you add the miso to the soup… which doesn’t have flame underneath it anymore. And then it kind of lives a little and then you eat it.

 

Yes.

 

Still hot but not boiling.

 

Okay.

 

Yes. But we, in Belgium, we know sauerkraut for instance as a fermented food. So yes, you can also ferment vegetables.

 

And how do you do that?

 

Yes. First of all, you do not do it by just adding vinegar to it. I love pickled onions and pickled cucumbers but actually, that’s not the way. When they are made with just adding vinegar, that’s not a real fermented food. They just taste sour but nothing happened. Bacteria didn’t come in.

 

So you don’t have the advantages of the fermentation.

 

Yes, that’s right.

So if you want to do it for instance, by yourself, you take salt. Now that’s going to sound very funny because you add salt to something and then after a while, it tastes sour. So you have to give it a little time to develop, the bacteria. At least 24 hours.

 

So if I want to do it myself, what are the steps?

 

Well, you need, for instance, a glass container.

 

Yes.

 

You need vegetables and you need saltwater. First of all, you clean the glass container. You boil it so it’s disinfected. And then you cut your vegetables, hard vegetables. For instance, onion, cauliflower, carrot. And you cut them in similar pieces. Then you add the vegetables into the glass container. And then you take your saltwater and you pour it over the vegetables until all the vegetables are underneath the water level. Now, how salty does the water have to be?

 

Yes.

 

Very salty. Like salt from the sea salt. So you have to add to one liter of water, two tablespoons of salt. And you best boil the water so that the salt really dissolves into the water.

 

Yes.

 

And then, the magic can happen. You added your saltwater and then you just leave it alone… for three, four, maybe five days depending on the weather, how hot or cold it is. It can be too hot, it can be too cold. You have to experiment a little bit with it. It’s not rocket science. It’s more like fingerspitzengefühl that you need for it. And then you leave it alone. And then, after three, four, five days, it tastes sour. And then, hallelujah, the moment is there. You have your own jar of healthy bacteria made in your own house. Then you close your glass container and you can put it in the fridge and keep them there for months and months. So the cold of the fridge makes the bacteria rather less active, but they are not dead. So the fermentation, the sour making process, is going to stop or slow down a lot.

 

Yes.

 

Okay. - So that’s how you do it in one, two, three.

 

That’s rather easy.

 

It is, it is. And it’s a very rewarding process, because it keeps you healthy, you are very happy when it’s succeeded… you can give it to your friends and family, little presents, healthy presents.

 

Okay. Thank you very much for this advice.

 

You’re welcome.

 

And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.

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