Why Pickled Foods Are Good for You and How to Make Cultured Vegetables
More and more medical research shows that the type of bacteria we have in our stomachs affects our health. Scientists are only just beginning to explore the types, but they have said that there are more bacteria in our stomachs than there are cells in the human body.
Yogurt isn't really a good source of probiotics because come companies pasteurize the yogurt after the bacteria has been added - killing them. Homemade pickles are the best. They keep you healthy and probably go a long way to keeping you slim.
Keep in mind that food "pickled" with vinegar doesn't go through the same process of fermentation that pickling food in brine (saltwater) does.
The 6 Easy Steps: A Quick Overview
Pickle Your Vegetables
1) Grate or cut the vegetables into very small bits and pieces.
2) Put them into the bowl and put some salt on to them.
3) Use your hands to knead them almost as you would bread.
4) Put them into the glass bottles.
5) Once they are fermented, keep them in your fridge. Pickled food takes somewhere between four to six days.
6) Occasionally you will see mold forming on the top. This is normal. Take it off.
Why You Should Culture (Pickle) Your Own Vegetables
Government and State regulations mean that any food that is sold in stores needs to be preserved in such a way that food poisoning doesn’t result. As most food stores these days import from long distances, this includes pasteurization of milk and cultured vegetables.
The problem with any food that is so dead that it cannot harm you because there’s nothing left living in it, is that it’s living food that makes you healthy. Dead food might take longer to kill you, but the inevitable result is obesity, cravings, mood swings, depression, cancers, and every other lifestyle illness in existence. Some scientists have stated that as much as 95% of all cancers are lifestyle induced.
Cultured foods are part of human evolution. There never used to be fridges, and when food rotted, if there was a shortage of food, some bright ancestor picked it up, ate it, and found it good. Ergo, cultures (pickles) arrived! Who doesn’t love sauerkraut or gherkins?
The human stomach needs to be populated with good bacteria. Increasingly it is being found that where there is an absence of good bacteria, illness results. The best way of obtaining healthy stomach bacteria is through culturing one’s own vegetables. Read on to find out how…
Yogurt Isn't Providing You the Acidophilus You Need
There is a story that the human body stops producing lactase after babies stop being fed by their mother. Supposedly, the only race that this does not apply to is Semites (Jews and Arabs) and whose bodies still produce lactose after they become adults. Of course, through the years, there has been so much intermarriage between one race or another, that it’s no longer a black and white picture. However, if it’s true, it might explain lactose intolerance
It also means that yogurt is not such a hot choice to get your health-giving bacteria.
With regard to yogurt, the bacteria are killed off by pasteurization, and what lives on doesn’t have a long life span. Even more interesting is that bacteria that thrive on milk will die if someone isn’t constantly fed milk. So that becomes a problem when someone does not do well with milk and the only way that they can keep acidophilus alive in their stomach is by consuming a lot of milk!
Six Easy Steps to Make Your Own Pickles
Believe it or not, making one’s own cultured (pickles) vegetables is very easy. You will need the following.
What you need:
- A board to work on
- A knife and, possibly, a grater
- A bowl
- Some bottles
- Any type of vegetable or combination of vegetables
- Either grate or cut the vegetables into very small bits and pieces. You can slice cabbage or grate carrots. This makes sauerkraut.
- Work in steps. As you complete some of the vegetables, put them into the bowl, put some salt on to them, then cut or grate some more vegetables, put some more salt on them (very, very lightly), and proceed this way.
- When you have grated or cut up all your veggies, then use your hands to knead them almost as you would bread. You will see that the veggies become mushy. This is good. It’s the way it is meant to be.
- Now put them into the glass bottles you have. As you put the veggies in, squash them to the bottom so that the liquid covers them. It’s important for the liquid to cover them as this is the part that ferments. If the veggies run low on liquid, put some water in. Always make sure that the liquid comes right up to the lid. It’s the brine (water and salt) that is required. And, of course, keep the lid on tightly!
- Once they are fermented, keep them in your fridge—unless you want them to ferment some more. The degree to which you want your veggies fermented is to taste, so you will have to find out your best time frame by trying them every day or so. Essentially, pickled food takes somewhere between four to six days.
- Occasionally you will see mold forming on the top. This is normal. Take it off. The veggies underneath are perfectly healthy—just brimming with the best healthy bacteria for your tummy. No more ant-acids! The Chinese believe that if the stomach is healthy and digesting food properly, then there will be few health issues.
Changing the Recipe for Cultured Foods
Of course, there are all sorts of food that can be pickled or cultured. Essentially, it’s putting veggies (and even fruit) into a solution of brine (salt and water) and/or vinegar. In addition, various spices can be added. Food can also be mixed as above. For sauerkraut, one doesn’t only have to use cabbage; one can add carrots or beets or anything else.
How to Make Pickled Gherkins
Here’s a quick and easy way to make the kind of gherkins they made in days gone by. You will notice that these recipes are based on the way our grandparents and great grandparents made their cultured foods. There’s no need to use starter packs, etc.
- 4 pounds small cucumbers suitable for pickling: They are generally dark green with lots of little warts on them.
- 6 large cloves of garlic, cut into either halves or quarters
- Some fresh dill, which is normally available between spring and fall, but not in the winter. In the winter, you will need to use dried dill. You won’t need more than a couple of sprigs.
- Sea salt
- White vinegar
- Water to top up, if needed
- Prepare the cucumbers by cutting off the ends.
- Add half the dill and half the garlic into the jar you are going to be using, then add the cucumbers until the jar is full.
- Add sea salt to taste. This can vary from a dessert spoon to a tablespoon. You will probably need to experiment a few times until you get the exact taste you enjoy.
- Take a cup of water, add a tablespoon of sea salt, and pour into jar. Repeat this until the jar is full of liquid.
- Add the remaining dill and garlic.
- Close and tighten lid. Ensure that the liquid comes right up to the top of the lid.
- Gherkins take between 4 and 6 days (as do most cultured foods).
- When they are ready, you can store them in the fridge!
Benefits of Eating Home Made Pickled (Cultured) Foods
As I said earlier, cultured (pickled) foods have been around for almost as long as human beings have. Those societies which have kept using the original recipes (non-pasteurized) tend to live longer and healthier lives. It is no accident that Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that when the stomach is healthy, then the rest of the body is healthy. The way to keep the stomach healthy is to ensure that it has lots of bacteria, has the right amount of acid to digest food (antacids are counterproductive), and to eat a diet more consistent with early man’s food.
In point form, here are some benefits of culturing your own veggies.
- You’ll be manufacturing the best Lactobacilli in town. It’s a far less expensive option than buying probiotics—and they’ll reproduce and flourish in your tummy.
- The job of your stomach is to break down food. It does this with the help of hydrochloric acid and bacteria. However, when food has been cultured, the bacteria have already broken it down. This means that there is less stress on your stomach, and food is digested more quickly and easily. The additional bacteria on the fermented foods also helps to break down the other food that you have eaten with the cultured food.
- Fermented vegetables contain a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C is probably one of the most used vitamins in the body and the higher the amount in the body, the greater the effectiveness of the immune system and the nicer the skin looks.
- As fermented food has live bacteria in it, it contains enzymes. In fact, it contains many, many enzymes. Enzyme depletion is responsible for many illnesses and conditions as we grow older. Apart from breaking down food in the stomach, enzymes process toxins and remove them from the system. The greater the number of enzymes we have available in our bodies, the healthier we will become.
- For those wanting to lose weight, the pickles seem to kill the desire for sugars and starches. This is very helpful if one is trying to lose weight. It is also useful because neither sugar nor starches are healthy.
Have you ever thought about pickling your own food?
Homemade Food Is Best!
Most food today is not doing its job because it really isn’t food. Cultured vegetables are an option that feeds the body what it needs and keeps the stomach healthy. If the stomach is healthy, it keeps the other systems in the body healthy. They are delicious, add tang to any food, and sate the appetite, so preventing one from overeating. They are also inexpensive to make, take little time to prepare, and they're all ingredients are easily obtainable.