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Preserving foods the ancient way

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Preserving foods the ancient way

The art of fermenting foods as a way of preservation has been a common practice throughout history. From Korean kimchi to Russian kvass, kombucha from China and German sauerkraut, most cultures have at least one item of food that has traditionally been fermented.

There are many benefits of adding fermented foods into one’s diet. Hippocrates said it best, “All disease begins in the gut.”  Fermented foods can help deter foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, E.coli, listeria and staph infection due to the presence of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is a strain of probiotic that works to repopulate the gut and inhibit strains of bad bacteria.

Junita Lapp learned the ancient methods of preserving foods first hand through traditions that were passed down from her parent’s Mennonite culture. She now owns Lapp It Up!, a local kombucha company, and enjoys teaching others how to create a healthy life through food, faith and family.

Until modern times, we did not have access to long term cold storage of produce and other perishable foods. Many foods can be preserved either by canning, dehydrating, or fermenting them. An overabundance of vegetables can be turned into kraut or kimchi. Apple cider becomes vinegar, and even wheat can be fermented and baked into a hearty sourdough. During the long winter months when fresh local foods are not always as readily available, having a jar of probiotic-rich fermented foods helps keep the immune system healthy. I have many good memories of diving into my mother’s large crocks of sauerkraut that were kept in the root cellar to mature. I still enjoy cold kraut straight out of the jar!

A fermented beverage that has been gaining mainstream attention in the recent decade is kombucha. kombucha is made by fermenting tea with a S.C.O.B.Y.  (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast ) and tastes a bit like sparkling apple cider or champagne. Due to its non-alcoholic nature, it can be readily consumed by the entire family. It is believed to have been discovered by the Chinese, but then traveled to Russia via the Silk Road. Up until World War ll, when tea and sugar were rationed, it was very popular throughout eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, as a healthy soda alternative.

We produce our kombucha using traditional methods and curate our seasonal flavors around local availability of fruits, vegetables and herbs. When fruit is in season, we gather extra and preserve it for year round use in our flagship flavors. Most of our fruits are either purchased at the farmers’ market or directly off the farms from farmers we meet at our local market. You can start adding fermented foods into your diet today. Try making some yogurt or kefir made with local milk.  And the next time you are at the farmers’ market, stop by your local veggie farmer and grab a head of cabbage to make some kraut. If you wish to make your own kombucha, the Crone’s House carries high quality organic teas that are available in bulk at the farmers’ market.

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own fermented drinks, stop by our stand and ask about attending a kombucha brewing workshop. If that’s not your cup of tea, we provide kombucha on draft for bulk purchasing. Availability depends on what’s in season. You can even bring your own container to fill.

If you’re ready to jump in fermenting right away, here is an easy fruit soda recipe that contains natural strains of probiotics and can help enhance digestion:

Recipe

Fruit or Ginger Ale

  • 1 hand of fresh ginger or 1 handful fresh or frozen berries or alternatively 2 cups fruit
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 quarts filtered water

Blend the ginger or fruit with sugar and 1 quart water. Pour into a large jar and fill with water. Close with a loose fitting lid. Allow it to sit on the counter for a few days until it is fizzy and some of the sweetness is gone. Strain into bottles and cap. Allow natural carbonation to build, checking it daily. Put the bottles in the fridge when they reach desired carbonation. Drink a little every day for enhanced vitality.

We hope to see you at the farmers’ market. Support your local economy and support your health at the same time!

The fall farmers’ market is held every Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Weasel Boy Brewing through Dec. 15.

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