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Every Culture has a Culture of Cultured foods

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

....and those terms are no coincidence!

Did you know that people have been fermenting for thousands of years? Even though fermented foods are very popular right now, there is actually nothing new or trendy about them.

In fact, we can jump all over the world to reveal the incredibly wide variety of fermented foods that people from every culture have consumed and enjoyed for generations.

Firstly, there are the obvious Western ones, - sourdough bread, yoghurt, cheeses...

Then we can delve a little deeper: We can start to look at;

Eastern Europe (which is my ancestral heritage): saurkraut, kasha, kvass, kefir etc

Korea: kimchi

Japan: miso, natto, kojii

South Pacific: poi (fermented cassava or taro root)

South-East Asia: nuoc mam or fish sauce.

These recipes belong to humanity, passed from generation to generation in the infinite collective wisdom of health, culture, microbial transformation and the preservation of food. And remember, fermented foods are not just limited to cabbages and vegetables. Humans have a long history of fermenting milk, meat, fish, eggs, grains and legumes too!

Korean Kimchi

Lets go even deeper to get an even bigger understanding of just how wide and varied (and important) fermented foods are all over the world. Don't forget to bring your food passport! Thanks to Wikipedia for this one!

Acidophiline- Russian fermented milk product with Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria.

Amasi-A word for fermented ilk that tastes like cottage cheese or plain yogurt. It is very popular in South Africa.

.Amazake- A traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol Japanese drink made from fermented rice.

Appam- A type of South Indian pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It is also very popular in Sri Lanka where it is commonly referred to as "Hoppers."

Atchara A pickle made from grated unripe papaya, popular in the Phillipines.

Ayran-A cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt. It is found in Turkey, where it is considered a national drink, Iran (there called doogh), Afghanistan, Armenia ( called tan), Azerbaijan, the Balkans, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Labanon and Syria.

Bagoong- A Philippine condiment made of partially or completely fermented fish or shrimp and salt. The fermentation process also results in fish sauce (known as patis).

Bagoong monamon- Prepared by fermenting salted anchovies.

Bagoong terong- Made by salting and fermenting the bonnet mouth fish

Bánh cuốn - from Northern Vietnam

Beer- A traditional alcoholic (depending on recipes) beverage made from grains and hops

Blaand- A fermented milk product made from whey. It is similar in alcohol content to wine.

Boza-A traditional fermented drink with alcohol found in many countries

Bread- Any biologically (yeast(s) as opposed to baking powder) leavened bread.

Brem- A traditional fermented food of Indonesia that uses rice.

Burong mangga- from the Philippines. a mix of sugar, salt, and water to mangoes that have previously been salted.

Burong talangka- from the Philippines. Made by mixing crabs, and salt and left in a jar to ferment thoroughly. It can be eaten after 2-5 days.

Calpis- An uncarbonated soft drink, from Japan

Chass-a traditional buttermilk drink from Gujarat, India.

Cheese- Some cheeses are fermented as part of their production

Cheonggukjang- fermented soybean paste from Korea that contains both whole and ground soybeans

Chicha- beverage usually derived from maize from South and Central America.

Cocoa bean- fermentation for chocolate and other cocoa products

Cod liver oil(Traditional preparation method) Cod liver oil was traditionally manufactured by filling a wooden barrel with fresh cod livers and seawater and allowing the mixture to ferment for up to a year before removing the oil.

Crème fraîche-A soured cream soured with bacterial culture.

Curtido- A type of lightly fermented cabbage relish from Central America.

Dhokla-from India, made with a fermented batter derived from rice and chickpeas.

Doenjang- A Korean fermented bean paste.

Doogh- Ancient Persian savoury yogurt-based beverage

Dosa-A fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and lentils. It is a staple food in many parts of India.

Doubanjiang-A spicy, salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soybeans, salt, rice, and various spices

Douchi-A type of fermented and salted black soybean

DouzhiBeijing-This is a fermented dish from Beijing cuisine. It is similar to soy milk, but made from mung beans.

Fermented bean curd- known as tofu

Fermented bean paste- category of fermented foods typically made from ground soybeans, which are indigenous to the cuisines of East and SouthEast Asia. In some cases, such as in the production of miso, other varieties of beans such as chickpeas amd broadbeans, may also be used.

Fermented fish- traditional preparation of fish. Before refrigeration, canning and other modern preservation techniques became available, fermenting was an important preservation method.

Fermented milk -Also known as cultured dairy foods, cultured dairy products, or cultured milk products, fermented milk products are dairy foods that have been fermented with lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, and Leuconostoc.

Filmjölk- A Nordic mesophilic fermented milk product that is made by fermenting cow's milk with a variety of bacteria from the species Lactococcus lactisand Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

Ganjang- kind of Korean condiment made from fermented soybeans

Garri-a popular West African food made from cassava

Garum- a fish sauce made from the fermentation of fish entrails, used as a condiment in the cuisines of ancient Greece, Rome, and Byzantium. Here is a tricky/fun/gross recipe for garum, for you to try at home! Click here

Gundruk- from Nepal, Gundruk is made by fermenting leaves of vegetables of Brassica family.

Hákarl- from Iceland. Made by fermenting shark meat, then hanging it to dry.

Injera-A sourdough-risen flat-bread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour. it is a national dish in Ethiopia.

Kefir- A fermented milk product.

Ketchup- In Indonesian cuisines, the term kecap refers to fermented savoury sauces.

Kimchi- traditional Korean dish

Kiviak- is a traditional wintertime Inuit food from Greenland that is made of birds preserved in the hollowed-out body of a seal

Kombucha-Fermented tea. This has become very popular in the last 5 years.

Kusaya- from Japan, A traditional salted and fermented fish dish

Lassi-Indian Yogurt drink

Miso-Asian fermented soya bean

Nattō-Nattō (なっとう or 納豆) is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. Nattō may be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slimy texture.

Nem chua- is a Vietnamese fermented pork dish.

Ogi- fermented cereal

Pickles- lacto-fermented

Poi- fermented tuber

Pon ye gyi- (Burma)Portuguese ground red pepper

Pulque-An ancient drink possibly created by the Olmecs or Toltecs of South-Central Mexico. It is made from the fermented sap of the Agave Americana plant and appears very similar to milk.

Puto- fermented in a banana leaf

Sauerkraut-Finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.

Şalgam- is a popular beverage from southern Turkey. It is made with the juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, and flavoured with turnip fermented in barrels with the addition of ground bulgur.

Shark meat-Shark meat is sometimes fermented.

Shrimp Paste (Belacan)-Malaysian fermented shrimp paste

Sour cabbage-Vegetable preserve similar to sauerkraut, with the difference that it is prepared through the lacto-fermentation of whole heads of cabbage

Smetana- soured milk

Taba ng Talangka-PhilippinesThe crab roe and meat of a sack of crablets are carefully taken out and preserved in a single jar using sea salt.

Tempeh-A traditional soy product originally from Indonesia that is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form

Tibicos- also known as water kefir

Yogurt-A fermented milk product produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk

Žinčica (in Slovakia), Žinčice (in the Czech Republic), Żentyca (in Poland)A drink made of sheep milk whey as a by-product in the process of making cheese.

Oi-Sobagi. Korean fermented cucumbers.

Wow! What a food adventure! I don't know about you, but I am totally re-inspired by how creative and wonderful us humans can be! How many of these wonderful ferments have you tried?

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