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Introducing 52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria

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Introducing 52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria Follow Me on Pinterest

(Pardon my French, but is a** really a bad word?)

Anyways, one of my goals for 2012 is to get more good (bad a**) bacteria in my gut (and hopefully my hubby’s). The way to do this is to eat more cultured and fermented foods. True health starts in the gut — if your gut is not healthy, then you will not be healthy!

So, starting January 1st, in addition to my probiotic supplement, I decided that I am going to start making one new fermented food or beverage per week. And thus was born “52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria”! This will definitely keep me busy and keep lots of cultured foods on my plate. I am so excited to start on this journey. So far, my cultured and fermented food repertoire has really only consisted of sauerkraut and pickles (Bubbies most often), water kefir, yogurt, and kombucha. I’ve tried making some other fermented foods, but haven’t spent a lot of time working on them, despite the fact that I know how important they are to a diet.

Why are fermented and cultured foods so good for you? Here are three very good reasons, though there are tons more:

1. They introduce a regular supply of beneficial yeasts, enzymes, fungi, and bacteria to your gut, aiding in digestion and helping decrease or eliminate digestive tract illnesses and ailments.

2. The fermentation process increases the amount of vitamins found in the fermented food (especially the elusive B vitamins), as well helping your body absorb nutrients from the rest of your diet.

3. They help strengthen your overall immune system (because of the things above).

Sure, you can buy fermented veggies and cultured food at your local health food store, but let’s face it. It’s PRICEY! Why, a little 8 ounce jar of kimchi is over $10! That is just not in my budget, considering I could eat it all in one sitting! Culturing and fermenting foods at home is so much more affordable and fun! It’s exciting to put some stuff in a jar and see what happens. You’re getting a lesson in biology and chemistry AND getting something tasty to eat at the same time!

Many people get intimidated when you mentioned culturing or fermenting food at home. They’re worried that they will “mess it up” or “not do it right”. Trust me, culturing and fermenting is uber forgiving! There’s not a lot you can do to mess it up, as long as you follow some basic rules:

1. Use clean, sterilized (with boiling water or vinegar) dishes, glass jars, utensils, etc.

2. Use organic and high-quality veggies.

3. Add some whey for an added bacteria boost to create a lacto-fermented product.

Throughout the next year, I’ll be exploring different recipes from Nourishing TraditionsWild FermentationCultured Food Life, and more, as well as experimenting with my own wacky combinations. Along the way, I’ll be featuring some guest posts, hosting some giveaways, and other fun things! If you have any ideas for me, please let me know, whether it be a recipe or an idea for a giveaway or someone you’d like to feature!

Now, tell me, what is your most favorite cultured or fermented food?

 

Image Credit

Cultures for Health


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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

35 comments

  1. Good resolution! My favorites are milk kefir and tsukemono, a Japanese sauerkraut. The recipe is in NT and oh it’s sooooo delicious.

    reply 
    • I’m excited to try the tsukemono. I saw the recipe in Nourishing Traditions and I have that on my list! I’m trying to get my whole year planned out, based on what I can get as seasonally as possible!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/30/11

  2. This looks great! I’m looking forward to your posts!

    reply 
  3. Kimchi for sure! Love the spice.

    reply 

    Amy
    Posted 12/30/11

    • I love kimchi too! I can’t wait to start making it!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/30/11

  4. Yum! What a fun adventure this will be =) I’ve branched out from brewing just Kombucha (a great way to get into fermented foods).

    I also make beet kvass (salty & sweet), sauerkraut & milk kefir. Diversifying your internal flora is important – so eat a variety of fermented foods! Good thing there are so many to choose from.

    reply 

    Hannah Crum
    Posted 12/30/11

    • Thanks Hannah! I really want to try the beet kvass. I’ve been hearing a lot about it. I’m excited to branch off into some different ferments other than the booch and kefir!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/30/11

  5. Great looking website and an even better idea for 52 weeks of bad ass bacteria!! Love it! You go!!

    I LOVE second ferment fresh orange milk kefir right now. I can’t get enough! Fizzy orange milk….who knew?

    My health has changed dramatically since I cut out all sugar, all wheat and have a lot of fermented veggies and milk kefir and kefir cheese and high quality protein. I never knew I could feel this good!

    Keep up the exciting work!

    reply 

    Kultured Karaite
    Posted 12/30/11

    • That sounds HEAVENLY! How do you make that? Is it just the milk kefir and you add fresh juice to it for a second ferment? I love anything that is creamy orange!

      Eliminating sugar is a grand thing. I always feel so much better when I stick to a low/no sugar diet. It’s hard though because I love the sweetness :) Wheat is going to be a big thing for me this year. I don’t eat a ton of it, but giving up my fresh sourdough bread and fresh tortillas will be tough. I need to come up with some substitutes, but nothing I’ve tried tastes quite as good as the real thing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/30/11

  6. Great idea! I don’t know if I could keep up with one new ferment a week, but I’m looking forward to your posts. So far I’ve done kombucha, milk kefir, water kefir, yogurt, villi yogurt, cheese, beet kvass, sauerkraut…

    Have a great year. :-)

    reply 

    Laurie
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Hi Laurie – sounds like you’ve done quite a few things! I have yet to make yogurt at home for some odd reason. Yogurt is on my list for this year, as is the beet kvass. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year to you! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  7. Coconut milk kefir!
    I make a batch every 2-3 days, and use it in morning Smoothies (w/ baked squash, Tbsp chia, frozen berries) … just use a tin of OG coconut milk, tsp brown sugar, and the milk kefir starter!
    I also feel great GF, lots of fresh local veggies n fruit, low sugar etc.
    I also look forward to your adventures in fermentation!

    reply 

    Nadya
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Hi Nadya – I haven’t made coconut milk kefir before, but I do want to try. I’ve done milk kefir and water kefir. Great idea adding the squash into the smoothies. That sounds tasty. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  8. What an awesome series, Jessica! I look forward to reading it!
    My favorite has got to be the Sumac Onions I recently made. Sumac onions are traditionally eaten with Persian and other Middle Eastern Cuisines, but I am finding that the citrus-y flavor of the sumac pairs beautifully with Mexican and Italian things as well. We’ve been eating them with everything! You can find a recipe for them on my site if you want to include them in your series. :)

    reply 

    Jami @ Eat Nourishing
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Thanks for stopping by Jami! I really appreciate your comment. The Sumac Onions sound yummy – I love anything involving onions! I’ll add those to my list for sure!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  9. I totally made the SAME resolution, but unlike you I am a TOTAL newbie at culturing/fermenting–SO excited I’ll have the encouragement/inspiration from your series to help me out–I’m gonna need it!!LOL:)

    reply 

    Val
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Hi Val! Thank you for stopping by! I hope that I can be of some encouragement to you – I’m nervous and excited! 2012 is going to be a great year, full of all sorts of bad ass bacteria! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  10. Terrific goal! I am a huge fan of lacto-fermented foods and can’t wait to see what you come up with. Happy New Year and here’s to health and all good things in 2012.

    reply 

    Winnie
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Thank you Winnie! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting – I’m a big fan of your blog, btw! :) Happy New Year to you too! I know 2012 is going to be a GREAT year!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  11. oh I am looking forward to this. I can always use some inspiration. Fun!

    reply 

    charity dasenbrock
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Thank you! I hope I can help on the inspiration front! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  12. New here, but saw your tweet announcing this new venture!
    I only have experience with brewing my own kombucha and I love it!
    Real interested in the water keifer too.

    I’m scared of the sauerkraut … ha ha … although I really want to try it.
    One of those things, like you said, I’m afraid I’ll mess up and poison us all … ha ha.
    That Japanese version sounds interesting.

    Very much looking forward to joining you on this bad-ass journey! :-)
    Thanks for letting us tag along!

    reply 

    Geneva
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Hi Geneva! Thank you for stopping by! I’m so glad you could join us! Don’t be afraid of fermenting. I’ve always been told that if the product is bad, you WILL know just by the smell, so I don’t think you need to worry about poisoning anyone! :) Water kefir is a lot of fun too. I have a how-to post and FAQ post that you can find here if you’re interested: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/category/how-to/water-kefir/

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  13. Sounds like a great year! :)

    reply 
  14. Are you posting the steps and results in the newsletter or in a blog? This is a great idea.

    reply 

    Lori U
    Posted 12/31/11

    • Hi Lori – I will be posting everything on the blog each week. It will include the recipe, instructions, background info, etc., along with pictures and anything else that migt be fun or helpful.

      If you want to make sure you don’t miss any new posts, you can sign up to receive email updates (no spam, I promise) and each time a new post goes live, it will be emailed to you. You can sign up here. Thank you for stopping by! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 12/31/11

  15. I love making yogurt at home! I learned from the blog kitchen stewardship through the gnowfglins e-course. I look forward to reading your posts. Thanks!

    Tania Davis (connoisseur4thecure.com)

    reply 

    Tania Davis
    Posted 01/08/12

  16. Yesterday I fermented a mix of shredded vegetables consisting of cabbage, onion, beets, kale, carrots, poblano and red peppers. A spice mixture offresh cilantro, dill seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries, hymalain salt and kefir water grains, top with beet greens a small jar to wiegh it down. Keeping it submerged under liquid. I can`t wait to enjoy it! I also fermented string bean and parsnips with lots of fresh chopped cilantro, garlic salt and whey topped with bottled water.
    So good!
    All organic. ;)

    reply 

    Rita
    Posted 01/10/12

    • YUMMO! That sounds great! I think I’ll have to try that. I love the mix of veggies in there, so I’m sure it will taste wonderful! Let me know how it turns out!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 01/10/12

  17. Hi Jessica,

    I came on your blog this morning as I was posting my own lacto-fermentation post.
    Great idea for a year! It will be interesting to see where it leads you. And to filch a recipe or two.

    Jack

    reply 

    Jack
    Posted 01/23/12

  18. Sorry. Looks like your reply scheme includes websites, but it doesn’t. Mine is at http://foundintuscany.blogspot.com/ if you want to read about why I don’t include put whey, an animal product, in my vegetable pickles.

    Happy fermenting!

    reply 

    Jack
    Posted 01/23/12

    • Hi Jack – Welcome! So glad you found me. I look forward to exploring your site. Funny that you mention the whey issue. I have actually stopped using whey in my ferments, based on a post I read from Joy at the Liberated Kitchen and then some stuff in Sandor Katz’s book. I was so ingrained in using whey because of the book Nourishing Traditions that I never stopped to think about in depth. Just a couple weeks ago I stopped and thought about it and realized it just doesn’t make sense to add a dairy product to a vegetable ferment. Plus, I noticed that it made my veggie ferments slimy. Gross! That is probably one of the main reasons that I never made many veggie ferments in the past. But, now, I am whey free for veggie ferments and am much happier! :) I look forward to getting to know you better. Hope to hear from you again!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 01/24/12

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