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Fermented foods are rich in probiotics and have been associated with a number of health benefits:
1️⃣ Provide a good source of live, active microbes.
2️⃣ Enhance food flavor, texture and digestibility.
3️⃣ Increase concentrations of vitamins and minerals.
4️⃣ Generate new nutrients and active compounds not present in the raw ingredients.
5️⃣ Support digestive health, immune function, and general wellbeing.
6️⃣ Remove/reduce toxins or anti-nutrients present in the original food.
Crunch is crucial in a good dill pickle. How do you achieve the right level of crunchiness? Remove a very thin slice from the blossom part of the cucumber (there is an enzyme present in the blossom that causes the cucumber to soften). Adding tannins to the brine also helps retain crispness. Grape leaves are the traditional source of tanning, but black/green tea leaves, fig tree leaves, raspberry leave,, currant leaves, sour cherry leaves and horseradish leaves can also be used.
Cucumbers can be bitter, and pickling does not solve the problem. All members of the gourd family produce organic compounds that remain in the leaves of the plant. If the plant is stressed (big fluctuations in temperature, uneven watering, or extreme heat) these compounds may enter the fruit. Occasionally, the bitterness is only in the ends of the cucumber, so if this is the case, trimming off the ends will be enough.
Cucumbers pickle quickly because the juice contains certain elements that encourage the growth of L. plantarum.
NOTE: If you are new to fermented foods, make sure to start with small amounts and SLOWLY BUILD UP. Some common side effects you may experience when introducing fermented foods for the first time include bloating, gas and diarrhea.
If you are not making these foods at home, always make sure to read labels when you buy. These products may contain sugar, caffeine, salt, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and even small amounts of alcohol that are part of the initial ingredients or produced as byproducts of the fermentation process.