The Role of Cultured Foods in a Sustainable Food System: Health & Energy Savings

dreamstime_s_17775774

Previously in This Series:

So many of the wonderful properties of cultured foods are interrelated. The lactic acid in them has been found by modern day science to have many benefits, but that is also what preserves the kraut, which saves you the energy output needed for canning or freezing the cabbage instead.

And so, I thought I’d wrap this series up by discussing two more of the benefits cultured foods can bring to any food system – health and energy savings. Let me start by asking you this: what is it like to live without refrigeration and all of the other conveniences that electricity has brought to the kitchen? And what would make such a feat possible?

… 

Read More »

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

More Posts - Website

The Role of Cultured Foods in a Sustainable Food System: Food Preservation

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-preparing-sauerkraut-image1439886

Fermentation is a funny thing; it kind of just happens. But most of us do what we can to control it. We add salt to our vegetables to keep them crisp and preserve them longer. We add specific cultures to our milk to manipulate the flavor of the end product. And we go out of our way to make it work for us.

But fermented foods as we know them, for the most part, were discovered often times by accident. And it is those accidents that we now cherish and add to our meals. But our ancestors most likely considered the best parts of these foods to not be the delicious flavors they add, but the preservation qualities of the fermented foods themselves.

This form of food preservation has been going on for generations, and for good reason. Before canning and freezing and the modern day appliances that made all of that possible, fermentation could preserve food with very little added energy or special ingredients. And that is precisely what makes it a more sustainable means of food preservation today.

Here’s what I mean.

… 

Read More »

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

More Posts - Website

The Role of Cultured Foods in a Sustainable Food System: Introduction

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-kitchen-corner-image6082652

Branching off from our series on ancestral fermentation, I thought I’d start a series on how exactly cultured foods play an integral role in a truly sustainable food system. But first, I think it’s important that we address what a sustainable food system looks like, and how the current food system is broken.

Anyone who is interested in nourishing their family probably takes an interest in avoiding GMOs, chemically sprayed foods, and improper animal husbandry. But what is the alternative and where exactly have we gone wrong?

Not long ago, things looked very different at our table, in our kitchens, and on our lands. We could point to anyone of these three places and find an enormous shift from just 100 years ago. Let’s take a look at each.

… 

Read More »

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

More Posts - Website

Ancestral Fermentation: Catching a Wild Sourdough Starter

Sourdough cultures have been credited with keeping the Pioneers alive as they traveled across country to start a new life in the West. They carried with them very little in supplies – accounts of flour sacks, molasses jars, and salt pork telling the tale.

I have always enjoyed reading of this time period, as I think it gives some great perspective. But you don’t have to go much further than the Little House on the Prairie series to hear how one or two meals of pancakes and salt pork a day made up a good part of the diet while traveling.

And those pancakes were often made with the sourdough starter the family carried with them. It makes sense to me. If you’re going to subsist mostly on flour products, then fermenting them first – both for nutrition and taste – makes a great deal of sense.

Back then, if a sourdough starter wasn’t given to you by a friend who had already established one, then you were going to have to make one yourself. It’s certainly not complicated, but it does take a bit of dedication, and it might surprise you a bit that we’re not just catching yeast from the surrounding air.

… 

Read More »

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

More Posts - Website