In food processing, fermentation refers to the process of converting sugar to acids. This practice has been long used in many cultures, out of which lacto-fermentation is the most common.
What Is Lacto-Fermentation?
The term lacto refers to a specific species of bacteria called Lactobacillus. Strains of these bacteria are found on the surface of plant as well as in the gastrointestinal tracts in humans, the oral cavity, and vaginas
These bacteria are named Lacobacillus due to the fact that they were first discovered in milk ferments. As mentioned in the very begging, they use sugar to convert it into lactic acid. This acid acts as natural preservatives, ably stopping the growth of detrimental bacteria. However, besides preserving foods, lacto-fermented foods provide other health benefits, too.
1. Improve Digestion And Enhance Nutrients Absorption
One of the primary benefits of consuming more fermented foods is that the nutrients are much more easily absorbed for healing. They help to improve digestion and heals the digestive tract. By supplying your gut with healthy bacteria, your digestive process is more equipped to destroy or remove harmful bacteria. These bacteria also help your body to absorb nutrients from the food that you are eating.
2. Boost Your Immune System
Your gut is your biggest protection against illness. As such, adding the healthy bacteria found in lacto-fermented foods to your diet can help strengthen your immune system. The spread of healthy bacteria in your gut can help control immune cells and prevent certain autoimmune reactions, such as inflammation.
3. Improve Brain Functions
As with most bodily processes, your brain is connected to your digestive and immune system. For an example of this, think about the last time you were sick with the cold or flu and how fuzzy your head felt. The vagus nerve is responsible for this connection.
The vagus nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves that transfers information from your intestinal nervous system to your central nervous system located in your brain. Maintaining a healthy amount of good bacteria and limiting unhealthy bacteria can keep this line of communication between the two systems open, preventing and improving cognitive issues.
4. Contain Powerful Antioxidants
Lacto-fermented foods contain a variety of powerful antioxidants that can attack free radicals known to cause cancer. These antioxidants can also fight inflammation and strengthen your immune system. This may help you deal with eczema, arthritis, and other conditions that are impacted by inflammation or an autoimmune response.
Given that lacto-fermented foods regulate various hormonal functions, they also regulate cravings and suppress your appetite. It has been scientifically shown that those who consume healthy probiotics on a regular basis are at lower risk for obesity.
Make Your Own Lacto-Fermented Onions
Making your own fermented onions is far superior to using store-bought ones, so that you know that they are free of artificial ingredients. It is worth mentioning that instead of table salt, you should use natural salt like Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, or kosher salt.
2 pounds of small onions, peeled
1 liter of pure water
50g salt of choice
A handful of garlic cloves, peeled
Spices: coriander, black pepper, chilli
A couple of wide mouth glass jars with lids
- To prepare the brine, dissolve the salt in a liter of water
- Put the onions in the jars and then pour the brine over them, leaving about 2 inches spaces on the top
- Cover the jars
- Culture at room temperature and open the lid on a daily basis for the first two weeks. After that, open the lid every other day
- The fermentation process usually takes 1-2 months
- If your jar, upon opening smells putrid, go with your instinct and throw it out. Start over.
As you can see, this process is extremely easy, economical, and healthy. Fermented foods can stored like this for months, providing cheap produce during the winter when fresh one is expensive as well as providing a wide plethora of health benefits.
Even beginners can do this. If you can handle the fermentation of onions, you will soon learn how to ferment any other vegetable.