In my opinion Sandor Katz almost single handedly brought the ancient art of fermentation back to the fore with his first book – Wild Fermentation – published in 2003. And this week I spent a really informative evening listening to him giving a talk at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. His passion and clarity of the process of fermentation came through so well that I would like to share some of his key points with you:
He started by saying how ubiquitous fermented foods are throughout the World – so far he has not found a a culinary tradition that does not ferment some of its food. The nutrients in fermented products are more easily absorbed due to them having been ‘pre digested’ by the bacteria – both lactose and gluten have been partially broken down – which probably make them easier for our bodies to process. Toxic compounds in the food are very likely to have been made safe due to the action of the good bacteria – for example the acidity of lactobacillus in high concentrations could preclude the need to sterilise the jars used in the bottling of sauerkraut. Finally he explained that the probiotic potential of fermentation – the generation of nutrients, B vitamins, bacteria – are indeed the ‘matrix of all life’.