What’s the deal? Fermented food
The science bit
Science is in early stages of understanding how our physical and mental health is interlocked with the vitality of the bacteria that live with us. We know fermented vegetables are a piece of the puzzle, not only by adding probiotics to our diet, and therefore in our gut, but the fermentation process also increases the vitamins and minerals they do contain and also makes them more available for our bodies to absorb.
A study published in the journal Food Microbiology found that when homemade vegetable juices are fermented, their iron is 16 per cent more soluble than in the raw juice.
Among many other nutrients critical for the body’s wellbeing are B12 and folate. Vitamin B12 is difficult to come by for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as it’s present only in animal-based foods. But it is found in fermented vegetables; the bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri produces it during the fermentation process.
While there’s not denying fermented vegetables pack a nutritional punch, the process also unlocks new, complex, deep flavors. Easy to make, they’re a brilliant store cupboard back-up, so when there are no fresh veggies in the fridge, or you don’t have the time to cook up something quick, you’ll have instant side dishes, salads, or flavourful foods around which to build a meal.
These delicious tacos are a great way to discover the joys of making and cooking with fermented foods yourself.
4 tilapia fillets
¼ tsp each salt and black pepper, to rub on fish
1 tbsp coconut oil
8 corn tortillas
2 cups Chipotle Squash Kraut (see below)
1 recipe Cabbage Salsa (see below)
4 jalapenõs, thinly sliced
Lime wedges (optional)
1 Sprinkle salt and black pepper on the fish, and rub it in lightly.
2 Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pay over medium-high heat, coating the pan. Lay the fish fillets in the pan, and cook for 3 mins on each side or until the fish flakes easily.
3 Warm the tortillas on a dry, hot frying pan until soft.
4 Divide the fish fillets, kraut, salsa and the jalapeño slices evenly among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
The fish taco recipe is extracted from Fermented Vegetables By Kirsten Shockey & Christopher Shockey (Storey Publishing, £16.99), photography by Erin Kunkel.