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Fermenting Fruits And Vegetables : Examples Of Fermented Fruits And Vegetables

Origin: Fermenting fruits and vegetables is an ancient tradition, which has been prevalent for centuries. It is probably the oldest forms of preserving food, long before refrigeration became an option. Wine, bread and cheese are the oldest examples of fermented foods which have been consumed all over the world for thousands of years.

It is difficult to pin-point the exact beginning and development of this technology. Anthropologists suggest that probably fruits were the first fermented food to be consumed. While the hunter-gatherers in that era consumed fresh fruit, they would have turned rotten or naturally fermented food during times of scarcity.

Gradually, they would have developed a taste for the fermented fruits and practiced their own fermentation process.

Examples of fermented fruits and vegetables:

  • Many varieties of fermented foods are popular around the world, depending upon the vegetables and fruits available in that particular region.
  • Fermented drinks like wine and beer were produced more than 5000 years ago in regions as varied as Babylon, Egypt, Mexico and India.
  • China is considered the birthplace of fermented vegetables, using the Rhizopus species of molds to ferment soy beans and make ‘tempeh’.
  • Indonesia makes the ‘tempeh-bongrek’, made by fermenting the pressed cakes of coconut and peanuts which remain after oil extraction.
  • Nepal makes ‘gundruk’, which is a fermented vegetable dish.
  • Then there is pineapple peel vinegar in South America.
  • In the Americas, there is sauerkraut, olives, and cucumber and dill pickles.
  • India relishes it’s ‘idlis’ made by fermenting pulses and cereals.
  • Causes Of Fermentation And Benefits Of Fermented Foods
  • Cause of fermentation: Bacteria, mould and yeasts are the micro-organisms that are commonly involved in fermentations of food.

Benefits Of Fermented Foods: Fermenting Foods Has Many Advantages And Benefits

Fermentation is a cheap and efficient way to preserve raw fruits and vegetables which are highly perishable. It is a controlled process and gives them added shelf life

These fermented foods, like pickles and sauerkraut, are often served as an appetizer or side dish with a main meal.

The fermentation process is a good and economical way to salvage vegetable waste. Peels of fruits are made into vinegar. Oil-cakes which are the by-product of oil pressing are converted into foods. Fermentation changes the consistency of the products by breaking down the cellulose into easily digestible sugars.

Fermentation can remove harmful chemicals from a plant product. Cassava contains a chemical called cyanogenic glucoside, which when eaten without being processed, causes cyanide to be released into the body, with fatal results. Fermenting the cassava by following the proper steps, removes this harmful ingredient.

The process of fermentation often improves the nutritional value of the food and increases their digestibility. The levels of vitamins are known to increase significantly in products like sorghum beer, which contains high levels of biotin and riboflavin. Palm wine, which is made in West Africa, has large amounts of Vitamin B 12. Idli, a combination of fermented pulses and cereals, which is eaten in India, is rich in riboflavin and thiamine. Grape wines have high levels of anti-oxidants which are cancer fighting.

Submitted on January 16, 2014