Fermentation and Seasonal Changes
The benefits of including Fermented Foods in the diet has widely been documented and reported. What not too long ago was an almost lost culinary art in the modern kitchen has now become a mainstay for most. Not only are people fermenting at home, everything from kombucha to fermented ketchup to probiotic rich kraut can even be found in our local shops, health food stores and on the menu at local restaurants and cafes.
The benefits of including fermented foods in the diet are far reaching and include:
- Preserving nutrients, breaking them down into more digestible forms.
- Creating new nutrients; microbial cultures create B vitamins (including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, etc.).
- Removing toxins in food.
- Some ferments function as antioxidants, scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.
- Fermented foods are rich in healthy bacteria and they promote the growth of healthy flora in the intestine helping with overall digestive system function.
However, the idea of pursuing a seasonal approach to fermenting is just now becoming more of a conversation although this approach was certainly the way our ancestors went about navigating this preparation method.
Eating seasonally is not a new idea. Taking time to consider what grows around us, what the weather is doing and the unique characteristics of the current season helps us connect to the organic rhythm of nature that deeply nourishes us.
It’s not so different when we consider our fermenting projects. It makes great sense to consume cool beverages of kombucha and tibicos in the hot months of summer to help regulate our body temp and quench our thirst. When the season changes and the dampness and colder weather returns it’s important to adapt to this change and adjust the way in which we include ferments. Moving from the cooling ferments such as kombucha into the warming beverages such as ginger bug makes great sense.
Preparing a ginger bug is a simple, inexpensive way to include a spicy, warming addition to our beverages in the fall. All the healthy benefits of including ginger as a herb are amplified when we prepare it as a ferment including improving our circulation, warming the body and stimulating digestion.
HOW TO BREW A GINGER BUG
Whole Unrefined Cane Sugar
- Break off a knob from your piece of ginger, peel and grate to yield 2 heaping tablespoons.
- Place the grated ginger in a small jar and stir in 1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar and 2 tablespoons clean water.
- Cover the jar loosely and place in a warm spot in your kitchen.
- Every day for 5 days, mix an additional 2 tablespoons grated ginger, 1-tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons water into your jar.
- The ginger will begin to foam and bubble at its top, and will take on a yeasty aroma somewhat like beer. After 5 days, it is ready to use. Store it in the refrigerator, and feed it 2 tablespoons grated ginger, 1-tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons water once a week.
HOW TO USE YOUR GINGER BUG
- Prepare 1 litre of herbal tea adding 1 tablespoon of unrefined cane sugar.
- Strain off ¼-cup of the ginger bug’s liquid and stir into the sweetened tea.
- Replace the ¼-cup ginger bug you’ve removed with 2 tablespoons sugar dissolved into ¼-cup water and return your bug to the fridge.
- Transfer the sweetened tea and ginger bug to flip-top bottles and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 3 days.
To continue with a seasonal approach to fermenting why not try this recipe with a chai tea blend. Nice and spicy warm for those days where the winds are blowing, the sun as slipped below the horizon too soon and the chill is in the air. A ginger bug fermented tea is also very helpful during cold and flu season.