For thousands of years, humans have been producing and consuming fermented foods. If one were to google search fermented foods, listing upon listing will appear touting the health benefits. Traditionally, fermented foods were made as a way of preserving foods, as our ancestors weren’t lucky enough to have a Whole Foods in every town. Thanks to modern technology and research, we are able to better understand what these fermented foods and beverages provide.
The quick and simple explanation of fermentation is that it is a process in which cells or microorganisms convert sugar (example: glucose) into another compound (example: alcohol). There are often byproducts of fermentation like carbon dioxide, which contribute effervescence or carbonation. Fermentation can occur spontaneously or be initiated with the aid of a culture. Often times, in the wine and beer industry, specific strains of yeast are used as they produce the most appealing flavors and aromas. Therefore, the type of yeast or bacteria used influences the final product.
Although the evidence based research is still in its infancy, there are numerous benefits to consuming fermented products, noted both in the evidence as well as anecdotally. Fermentation increases the bioavailability of minerals and vitamins, and contributes beneficial bacteria that join our gut bacteria, wagging war on gut health. The microorganisms of fermented foods have been found to contain antimicrobial, antioxidant, and probiotic properties. Gut health has become a popular area of research and for good measure. About 90% of our serotonin is produced by our enteric nervous system, located in our gut. Because of this, the gut is often referred to as our second brain. Our gut also provides an immense amount of immune function. Researchers believe introducing beneficial microorganisms into the gut can support the health of our immune system,
protecting against illness and inflammation. It’s important to note that fermented foods do not cure illness, rather they help your body return to a state of balance, provide beneficial bacteria and organic acids, and aid in alkalinity. Bottom line: fermented foods confer more benefits than simply preservation of food.
At the Nectary, we carry quite an array of fermented drinks, from kombucha to jun to water kefir. While they all undergo the same fermentation process, there are notable differences among the three. Kombucha and Jun are both fermented with a SCOBY, symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. The SCOBY we have at the Nectary is different from a SCOBY you have at home, and this is due in part to the environment in which this grow. (Fermentation conditions must be sanitary in order to have a viable, tasty product.) The SCOBY is simply placed in a tea sweetened with a specific sugar. A Kombucha SCOBY is fed black tea sweetened with cane sugar, and a Jun SCOBY is fed green tea and honey. Fermentation can last anywhere from one to two weeks, though the longer it ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it becomes. After the fermentation is complete, the kombucha or jun can be drunk or undergo a secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation is where juice, herbs or spices are added to the tea for flavoring. The remaining yeast and bacteria consume the fruit sugars, producing more carbonation.
Water kefir is fermented with kefir grains, resembling gelatinous pearls. The fermentation for kefir is much shorter than kombucha or jun, often taking only 24-48 hours. The kefir grains are temperamental, requiring added minerals, unchlorinated/unfluoridated/not distilled water and either dried, unsweetened fruit or unrefined sugar. After fermentation, the water kefir can undergo a secondary fermentation to add juice, spices or herbs. Once the secondary fermentation is complete, the water kefir is bottled and ready to go.
Rich in probiotics, organic acids, vitamins and minerals, fermented food and beverages can offer a lot of benefit to us and our gut health. So, like the old adage goes, trust your gut!
Now that we’ve got you thirsty, let’s talk about the probiotic rich drinks we sell ..
Green Goddess: E3 Live blue-green algae, chlorella, spirulina, lemon, ginger, fair trade assam black tea, organic cane sugar
Maca-Mint Guayaki Yerba Mate: Guayaki Yerba Mate, roasted maca root, mint, lemon, fair trade assam black tea, organic cane sugar
Sonoma Roast Cold Brew Coffee: Cold-brewed Taylor Maid Coffee, cacao, vanilla bean, organic cane sugar, fair trade assam black tea
Elderberry-Hibiscus: elderberry, hibiscus, rose hips, ginger, fair trade assam black tea, organic cane sugar
Tulsi-Rose: Rama, Krishna and vana tulsi, rose petals, vanilla bean, honey, jasmine green tea
Schisandra-Goji Berry: Egyptian hibiscus, ginger, lemon, vanilla bean, jasmine green tea, raw agave nectar
Kaffir Lime-Turmeric Lemongrass: Cold pressed turmeric, lime, lemongrass, jasmine green tea, honey
Reishi-Chaga-Cacao: Reishi, chaga, cacao, rose petals, vanilla bean, honey and jasmine green tea
Lavender-Vanilla Lemonade: Lavender, lemon, vanilla, agave
Hibiscus Ginger: Hibiscus, ginger, lemon, vanilla, agave
Mojito: Lime, ginger, mint, vanilla, agave
Master Kefir: Ginger, lemon, cayenne, maple syrup
Coconut Kefir: Raw coconut water and kefir grains fermented for two days, available as a 2 oz wellness shot
In Good Health,
Photography by Carmen Fowler
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Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The Nectary does not provide medical advice or treatment nor it is a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before consuming anything mentioned within these posts.
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