Hot New Trend: Fermented Foods

Hot New Trend: Fermented Foods

Pickle vegetables

By Lexi Orlan, Contributing Blogger

If you’ve perused the supermarket aisles, especially specialty markets, you’ve probably come across a variety of fermented foods and beverages. Fermentation is one way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables in order to capture their goodness anytime of the year. However, there are other pros and cons about fermented foods.

What is fermentation?
When fruits and vegetables are fermented, they’re in salt-water brine, where no oxygen is present. Through fermentation, probiotics (healthy bacteria) are formed, making the fruit or vegetable easier to digest, as well as adding a nutritional benefit.

Fermenting food is another way to decrease food waste. Fermentation allows you to eat rinds of certain fruits (like watermelon), so you don’t have to toss it. Also, through the process of fermentation, foods that may be considered toxic when eaten raw can be enjoyed without worry. For example, when cassava is fermented, the toxin is destroyed in the fermentation process.

Be Careful!
Although fermented fruits and vegetables offer many benefits, there are drawbacks as well. Fermented produce is very high in sodium since they are processed in salt-water brine. If you’re watching your sodium, fermented foods should be eaten in smaller amounts. Further, many folks like to ferment their own foods, including vegetables and yogurt. It is important to follow the correct food safety procedures to ensure that your fermented foods are safe to eat.

 

Lexi Orlan is a junior dietetics major this fall at the University of Delaware. She hopes to become a registered dietitian and use her passion for food and health to better others’ lives.

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