The Brooklyn Jews from which I hail would have been equal parts horrified and amused to see $12 artisanal sauerkraut, now sold in metropolitan farmer’s markets. In truth, the resurgence of fermented foods is not that different from the pre-ripped Levi’s in my closet. It seems the food world has taken a note from the fashion set, by reviving and repackaging unglamorous products of the past. But nostalgia and distressed denim aside, I’m hoping the fermentation trend lasts, because it’s really good for us.
In simple terms, fermentation just means that the sugars and carbohydrates in a food have been broken down by beneficial (or “good”) bacteria, resulting in lactic acid. Our taste buds recognize lactic acid as the complex, pungent burst of flavor from foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir. But fermentation yields a crucial benefit, far more important than an enhanced flavor profile: a healthy gut.
Check out the full scoop in my GOOP debut (also I die)