ARTICLE DISCUSSION Prepared by: Sairo How Fermentation Techniques Preserve Food By: Bev Walker Sources:http://www. Man has been fermenting foods for thousands of years, but what is fermentation? How does it preserve foods? Is it a safe and healthy means to store our harvest? UNLOCKING WORD MEANINGS 1.)predates (v)-to date before the actual time Example1: He predated the check by three days. Example2: Predates by many years the conquest of mecca. 2.)perishable (adv)- Things, esp. foodstuffs, likely to decay or go bad quickly. Example: The perishable food went bad over a few weeks. 3.)symbiotic (adv)-living in symbiosis, or having an interdependent relationship: Additional info: In a symbiotic relationship, the animals depend on each other. Example: Many people feel the relationship between humans and dogs is symbiotic. 4.)digestible (adv)- capable of being digested. Example:Both proteins and starches has long molecules that can be break down into pieces by heat making them digestible for humans. 5.)antioxidant (n)- an enzyme or other organic substance, as vitamin E or beta carotene, that is capable of counter acting the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissues. Example: Green tea contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. ARTICLE The deliberate fermentation of foods by man predates [pree-deyts] written history and is possibly the oldest method of preserving perishable [per-i-shuh-buhl] foods. Evidence suggests that fermented foods were consumed 7,000 years ago in Babylon. [1] Scientist speculate that our ancestors possibly discovered fermentation by accident and continued to use the process out of preference or necessity. Preserving by fermentation not only made foods available for future use, but more digestible [dih-jes-tuh-buhl] and flavorful. The nutritional value produced by fermenting is another benefit of fermenting. The study of fermentation is called zymology. Fermentation is the controlled decay of material using special bacteria which results in a more desirable product. Technically, fermentation is the biochemical conversion of sugars, starches, or carbohydrates, into

alcohol, and organic acids, by bacteria and enzymes.[1] We have symbiotic  [sim-bee-otik] relations with some forms of bacteria, we give them what they need (carbohydrates), they give us what we need (preserving acids). The bacteria change foods into more digestible and nutritional material. A “starter culture” containing the preferred bacteria is introduced to the foods to be fermented. This can be done by adding a small sampling from a previous batch of converted foods, or with a commercially distributed mixture. Some foods need the proper conditions to attract the desirable, or to discourage the bad, microbes. Materials cured in a brine solution (salt, water, sometimes spices and sugar) are naturally fermented, or pickled. Although desirable anaerobic bacteria convert carbohydrates to acetic acid that “pickle” and preserves the food, the brine protects the vegetables from aerobic organisms.[2] Pickling vegetables created with vinegar (fresh-pack, or quick-process method) are not naturally fermented. The acid of the vinegar preserves the food and imparts the flavors of the herbs, and spices used.[2] Vinegar does not ferment foods, but is a product of fermentation. Bread is raised by the process of fermentation. Yeast eat the sugar, creates carbondioxide gas doubling the amount of food, and produces alcohol that is burned off in baking. Essene bread is made with fermented (sprouted) grain to improve nutrition and digestibility, and dried in a warm, low temperature environment.[3] Fermenting enhances the flavors of some foods, as with the extended fermentation of black teas, aged cheese, wine, and beer, which creates their distinctive flavors. Cocoa beans have to be fermented for a few days to remove the pods and to enhance the flavor of chocolate.[4] Fermenting makes foods more edible by changing chemical compounds, or predigesting, the foods for us. There are extreme examples of poisonous plants like cassava that are converted to edible products by fermenting. Fermentation increases nutritional values with the biochemical exchange it produces, and allows us to live healthier lives. Here are a few examples: • The sprouting of grains, seeds, and nuts, multiplies the amino acid, vitamin, and mineral content and antioxidant [an-tee-ok-si-duhnt] qualities of the starting product.[5] • Fermented beans are easier for our bodies to digest, like the proteins found in soy beans that are nearly indigestible until fermented.[3] • Fermented dairy products, like, cheese, yogurt, and kifir, can be consumed by those not able to digest the raw milk, and aid the digestion and well-being for those with lactose intolerance and autism.[6] • Porridge made from grains allowed to ferment increases the nutritional values so much that it reduces the risk of disease in children.[1] • The news is full of reports about the health benefits of probiotic supplements (beneficial bacterial cultures for microbial balance in the body) fighting cancer and other diseases. • Vinegar is used to leach out certain flavors and compounds from plant materials to make healthy and tasty additions to our meals.[7]

Endnotes: [1] Fermented Frutis and Vegetables: A Global Perspective. Battcock & Azam-Ali. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. 134. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome. 1998. ISBN 92-5-1042268. [2] Making Fermented Pickles and Sauerkraut. Schafer, William. University of Minnesota. 2008. [3] Wild Fermentation. Katz, Sandor E. 2003. ISBN: 1-931498-23-7 [4] The Cocoa Web. [5] The Sprouting Book. Wigmore, Ann. 1986. ISBN: 0-89529-246-7 [6] Specific Carbohydrate Diet. [7] The Vinegar Institute. [8] The Whey to Renewable Energy. Greer, Diane. BioCycle. Feb 2008.