If we take the example of a cabbage left in the open air, it will eventually rot. Cut and placed in a jar filled with water and salt; it will ferment and become sauerkraut.
Fermentation is, above all, a means of preservation that concerns a vast category of food: fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes, meats, fish, dairy products, and even certain drinks.
In reality, there is not one but several fermentation processes depending on the substance that is made. Fermentation transforms, thanks to the action of microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria, molds, etc.), the sugars naturally present in foods into lactic acid (yogurt, bread, sourdough, sauerkraut, etc.), or even alcohol ( wine, beer, cider…).
A source of lactic ferments and natural nutrients
Fermented foods have many benefits since, during the fermentation process, microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria …) manufacture vitamins, amino acids, or even develop lactic ferments, also called probiotics. These play an essential role in the microbial balance of the digestive system.
If we take the example of cabbage, when it is fermented, its content of ascorbate, a precursor of vitamin C, is more significant than when it is raw.
Lacto-fermentation (carried out by lactic acid bacteria) also increases the bioavailability of minerals such as manganese, potassium, or calcium.
However, be careful not to abuse fermented foods, as this can generate digestive discomfort in some people. They can be consumed every day but in small quantities as part of a varied and balanced diet.
The big comeback of fermented foods on our plates
The fermentation, hitherto shunned in the kitchen, even reappeared in some chef’s menu. Andrew, the three-star French chef, asserts the interest in fermented foods in his cuisine, imagining recipes that combine remarkable taste qualities and dietetic properties.