Lately, the practices of culturing fermenting have exploded in popularity. It’s good for the gut, experts say. Yet in the end, was it ever anything more than a method of preservation? After all, without the convenience of freezers or refridgeration, what other options did people have?
I bring this up because I’ve always reacted poorly to fermented foods. So I did some reading about the history of yogurt, among other things.
Guess what? We discovered yogurt by accident! People left milk out in warm climates, or decided to carry it in animal pouches, causing it to curdle. Because eating it didn’t make anyone sick, we decided to adopt the practice.
How else would you keep cabbage through the winter if you didn’t turn it into sauerkraut? Pickling likewise preserved vegetables, just like jams and chutneys did for fruit.
Ultimately, any cultured food has undergone a radical change. Not only is it filled with bacteria, but their waste products as well. I never understood why aged cheese gave me a headache till now (tryptophan). Ferments also tend to be loaded with salt, which isn’t exactly ideal.
It’s important to remember why our anscestors did what they did, rather than imitate it without question. That being said, If you enjoy ferments and they make you feel good, by all means continue! After all, what is a tonic for one is toxic to another.