Try this gut-friendly cooking trick to up your kitchen game

If you’re looking for a different and healthier way to enjoy your vegetables, try pickling them. Pickles are not new, but in recent years, the art of pickling and fermenting food and beverages has enjoyed renewed popularity.

Pickling preserves foods like carrots, celery or okra in an acid like brine or vinegar and can be healthy, especially when it’s not processed. Another way to preserve food and beverages is fermentation. The natural process converts carbohydrates into alcohol or acid and encourages the growth of probiotics, which are good for healthy bacteria and your gut health.

Taking a closer look at pickling and fermentation techniques is timely as we enter Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. During this time, we celebrate the rich history, culture and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain. , Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Global application of pickling and fermenting

Although pickling and fermentation did not originate in Latin culture, these techniques have become staples in many Latin households. spanish word marinade Literally pickled, but it describes preserved foods, including fish, that are cooked before being pickled.

The flavor of escabeche can vary based on the pickling technique, explains Chicago resident Luz Payan, whose family roots come from Axochiapan, Morelos, Mexico. “Escabeche recipes differ from region to region in Mexico, Spain, South America, or even the Caribbean islands. In Mexico, they may differ from state to state or even from city to city within a Mexican state.”

But nothing is as good as Payan’s family recipe. “Our escabeche is pickled and spicy with some added flavor. It complements Mexican cuisine, including tortas, tacos, and most grilled meats. The taste can be addictive, Payan said. “Some people I know add in Flaming Hot Cheetos to give them that vinegary and spicy kick!”

As with pickles, fermentation is used in many countries. People around the world drink beer or kombucha, but taped A traditional Mexican probiotic drink with roots in Central and South America. It is usually made from pineapple peel, but may contain corn and fruits such as apples, guavas, oranges, and pears.

How Pickling Made Its Way Around the World

Archaeologists believe that pickles date back to around 2400 BC, when the Mesopotamians began soaking their food in brine to preserve it. Cucumber was one of the wet foods. The resulting pickle was popular because it was easy to transport, hardy and tasty.

Pickles and pickles made their way around the world as sailors stocked food items on their voyages. High levels of vitamin C pickles help prevent scurvy.

Even as pickles grew in popularity, their delicacy evolved in different regions. Dutch farmers and Eastern Europeans popularized dill pickles in the United States. In the Caribbean, escabeche PR is a favorite, Lizette Watko, creator of the talk and cooking show, Lizette invites you. “Something very popular in the Caribbean is the green banana escabeche.” On the side dish, pickled bananaGreen bananas are peeled, boiled, and then marinated with vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

Look back at fermenting

Fermenting has a much longer history than pickling, going back to 6000 BC. Most cultures can boast some form of fermented food, including Korean kimchi and Indian chutney. Yogurt and cheese are fermented, as are beer and wine.

In addition to preserving food, fermentation adds flavor by providing more complexity. The process adds more nutrients to the food. Many people eat and drink fermented foods because of the probiotics that can aid digestion. Although beers are fermented, the brewing process kills probiotics. However, some beers, like strong Belgian beers, are fermented differently which allows probiotics to grow.

Resurgence of an old practice

Although people never stopped pickling and fermentation, the practice has declined over the past few decades. “I’m in the generation,” Watko explained. “The old people made escabeche and still do.” But for the next generation who cook less often, they stopped making escabeche for a while.

Now, however, and in the last few years, the practice has seen a resurgence in popularity.

The practice of pickling and fermenting foods resonated with people interested in the farm-to-table movement and an easy way to prepare vegetables. Then, when the pandemic hit, many were stuck at home and wanted to try something new, Watko said. “People started cooking at home and went back to the dishes our aunts used to make.”

With so many resources available to learn pickling and fermentation techniques, it’s easy to join the trend.

In honor of Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, try a few gut-friendly recipes like an easy side dish of escabeche with carrots, onions, garlic and jalapeño, paired with a spicy and refreshing glaze of tepache.

Be sure to prepare your recipes in advance, so the dishes have time to reach their peak pickling and fermenting before enjoying!

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