Aktualisiert: 24. Apr.
Fermented vegetables! A wonderful thing and the latest craze among the health conscious people. The gut bacteria, microbiome, the second brain, probiotics, the gut and mood connection, the proper bacteria and health connection.
You hear about all those things more and more. They are all wonderful terms and so true.
But there's one problem that most people are not even aware of, and especially the people who make those wonderful fermented foods (and drinks).
And most probably neither are you aware of it - you, the customer.
Do you know what that problem is?
The problem is the extensive use of the same item that pollutes our cities and our waters.
The same thing that fills the landfills, while it takes up to 1000 years to decompose.
Any guesses yet?
So your next question would be: what plastic has to do with fermented vegetables?
It can have a lot to do and it does more often than you think.
First, fermented vegetables and other fermented foods have been around for thousands of years. The traditional method of making them was to ferment them in some stoneware or in wood, and eventually in glass.
Never before, they've been done in plastic containers.
And it has nothing to do with the fact that plastic is a recent invention. Even if plastic was around much sooner, people back then would never use it for fermentation, as they were smarter and more intuitive back then.
So, why are some people using plastics?
For one, they might not be aware of the hidden dangers.
For two, plastic cheaper than the traditional fermenting vessels and that factor can and quite often is, the most important factor for some producers.
Now you could ask: why shouldn't they use plastics?
The answer is simple. During the process of fermentation different organic compounds, enzymes and acids are formed. And those things, especially the acids react with plastics and they pull chemicals out of those plastics. As a end result, you end up gettng a Molotov cocktail of those synthetic compounds in your vegetables.
Here is a quote from My Plastic Free Life describing what plastics are:
"According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “plastics are made from liquid petroleum gases (LPG), natural gas liquids (NGL), and natural gas. LPG are by-products of petroleum refining, and NGL are removed from natural gas before it enters transmission pipelines.”
By now everybody should have heard about BPA and its effect on hormones.
Here's another quote from the same article:
"But what’s of even more concern is that even supposedly “safe” plastics have been found to have hormone-disrupting effects."
If you're interested in how plastics effect your health, you can do your own research. There's plenty of information on this subject. And don't buy into the argument that somebody is using a food grade plastic containers, so they are safe.
There's NO such things as safe plastics. Even water sitting in plastic bottles for a while gets polluted by plastic compounds and micro plastics.
So if you are buying fermented vegetables from some company that makes them, you should always have this question in mind:
Do they use plastics during the fermentation process and do they pack the finished product in either plastic jars, bags or bottles?
If they do and you still buy them, then remember that you have been warned.
Now back to all of our products.
First stage, is the preparation process.
At this point, we only use stainless steel buckets and bowls for our vegetables, as can be seen on this picture. It was taken during our Kimchi production.
During the fermentation process that usually takes a minimum of one month for our vegetables, we use special fermentation crocks (and sometimes glass jars).
Those fermentation crocks are made by K&K Keramik.
It is a stoneware made by a German company that specializes in fermentation crocks. What is important about them is the fact that the glazing that they use is a natural glaze that is lead-free and cadmium free. It is also resistant to all natural acids.
We own a fleet of those. We have quite a few of 16 liter ones, some 10 liter & few smaller ones. Here's a pic of some of them in action:
Some of our ferments are done solely in glass. Like these delicious Preserved Lemons:
Here's another pic of our showcase ferments:
When the fermentation process is complete, all of our ferments go into retail glass jars.
The same applies to our other ferments, like our Fermented Beet Kvass.
Or our Fermented Soda.
It's no different with our Water and Milk Kefir.
The only exception to this strict no-plastic rule is the fact that we have to use plastic strainers for both Kefirs, as their cultures can be harmed by metal.
But this is just a brief contact and we use wooden spoons during the straining process.
As you can see, it is simple in our case. It's either stoneware or glass!
So if you are buying vegetables from other producers, even in a BIO (Organic) store, you should always check on whether any type of plastic was used during their production processes.
The answer to the original question from the title is: Yes, they are healthy!
As long as you stay away from plastics and other containers with lead and cadmium glazes.
The cover picture has a wonderful book written by Christopher & Kirsten Shockey.