Fermentation Is Here To Stay

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The new brewery at Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The school now teaches the art and science of brewing, an elective course. Allison Aubrey/NPR

When the Culinary Institute Of America says so, we pay attention. We keep hearing about fermentation from our friends and colleagues in the know. So we watch for these stories. The Salt feature on National Public Radio must be, by now, one of our most go-to sources, and for good reason (considering what we care about):

Fermentation Fervor: Here’s How Chefs Boost Flavor And Health

ALLISON AUBREY

There’s an explosion of interest in friendly bacteria.

Beneficial microorganisms, as we’ve reported, can help us digest food, make vitamins, and protect us against harmful pathogens.

As this idea gains traction, so too does the popularity of fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi.

Though the science is tricky, researchers are learning more about how this ancient technique for preserving food may also help promote good health.

For instance, the bacteria in yogurt have been shown to aid digestion, and making cabbage into sauerkraut by fermenting it “increases glucosinolate compounds believed to fight cancer,” explains a Tufts University Health & Nutrition publication.

So, what’s next in fermentation? Chefs and do-it-yourself enthusiasts are using microorganisms to coax new, complex flavors out of foods.

“Cooks around the world have begun to discover (or, more accurately, to rediscover) the possibilities of using fermentation processes in the kitchen,” writes Arielle Johnson, a flavor chemist, in an article titled “Artisanal Food Microbiology” published in Nature Microbiology this spring.

Johnson works for MAD, a nonprofit food organization based in Copenhagen that was founded by Rene Redzepi, the chef-patron of the acclaimed restaurant Noma.

Fermentation, she explains, is loosely defined as the transformation of food by microorganisms.”When you ferment something, you create flavour,” Johnson writes.

From soy sauces to vinegars, breads, cheeses, and, of course, wines and beers, “fermentation processes are key to elaborate well-known delicacies,” Johnson says…

Read, or listen, to the whole story here.

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