Fermentation is accountable for many of our favorite food items. You possibly know that fermentation helps in making delicious products like cheese and beer; however, did you know that bread, yogurt, sauerkraut, pepperoni, soy sauce, and even chocolates are even made through fermentation? Well, read on to know more about the essential and friendly microorganisms inside the food that you eat or drink.
Get yourself familiarized with fermentation:
In a simple word, fermentation is nothing but a bioprocess, which uses microorganisms like fungi and bacteria (molds and yeasts) for producing either acid or alcohol from carbohydrate sources. And these metabolites preserve products, as well as create exclusive textures, flavors, and enhanced nutrition. Generally, fermentation takes place in an anaerobic environment, implying no oxygen is present there.
Fermentation might start when naturally occurring microbes (generally found on the food or in the air) start breaking down food over time. One can try this out at home simply by leaving a glass of wine just overnight. One would find sour wine vinegar in the morning. This is possibly how in ancient times people determined fermentation could help in preserving their food and this procedure is natural fermentation.
In recent times, we oftentimes use a controlled fermentation procedure for ensuring consistency. The majority of wine-makers, bakers, or brewers have proprietary strains of yeast exclusive to their products. Even yogurt makers have particular bacteria strains that they rely on.
Since natural microbiota can differ, manufacturers wish to take control and they ensure consistency simply by controlling the exact amount and type of microbes used. They can even add various microorganisms at different times for producing unique textures and flavors. This helps in continuously producing foods, which customers love.
Why ferment food?
You must know that fermentation is something that preserves several food items including vegetables, fruits, and meats. It even destroys natural toxins found in foods, thereby keeping the products safe to eat for a long period of time.
In addition to this, fermentation adds value to any food. The unique textures and flavors created in the fermentation procedure are highly accepted by several customers. Fermentation even creates carbonation that people love experiencing in beer and champagne. Last but not the least, it maximizes the digestibility and nutrient bioavailability of foods such as legumes.
How fermentation preserves food?
The primary reason fermentation extends product shelf life is that it maximizes alcohol or acid content and minimizes water activity. You must know that all microorganisms have some basic life needs and they can never tolerate harsh environments like those with high salinity, low pH, or high alcohol content. When lactic acid bacteria make lactic acid, for instance, the pH is lowered, thereby killing other microorganisms.
Salt and sugar are oftentimes added to fermented food items during processing. This helps in prevention simply by binding the water microorganisms that would require surviving.
In a nutshell, fermented food items always add tang and zest to one’s meals and are definitely a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.
Last Updated on August 26, 2021