Dear Annette – Pickled Foods

Dear Annette – Pickled Foods

Annette Doody
Savory Bistro Owner & Wellness Coach

Dear Annette:
I hear pickling foods is a very healthy thing to do. Why is that?

Dear Reader:
Almost every culture has some form of fermentation or pickling in their cuisine because there were no freezers or way to keep the bounty of a harvest, so food was pickled to preserve it.

Through the power of observation, cultures realized that pickled food was also good for health. We now know the science behind it. Pickling uses fermentation to break down the cellulose fiber of plants and make them easier to digest. In the process of fermentation good bacteria, enzymes, antioxidants, and probiotics are created. These are all vital to a good gut biome. 70% of our immune system is in our gut biome. What cultures observed was that eating these foods kept them from being sick as often.

Most pickled foods start with vinegar, salt and spice. Some use sugars. Like most things that are good for us a little goes a long way. Pickled foods are meant as really condiments with our meals. Too much pickled foods can irritate the stomach for some people and raise sodium levels. A little pickled food with a meal just helps digestion and can help the integrity of our gut biome.

Be wary of store bought pickled items. Read the labels as many are extremely high in sodium and sugar. Many processed pickles are made with extreme heat which kills all the good bacteria and enzymes. Stores like Whole Foods are careful to bring in only pickled items that have not been over processed so that they retain the health benefits.

Pickling is easy and there are several pickling recipe books available even at stores like Target where you can buy pickling supplies. Here are two great links to check out to learn more about pickling this summer.

The Kitchen
Bon Appetite

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