As many of us are finding in this present age of quarantine, there are only so many things you can do in your home. As we confine ourselves to the four walls of our abodes, the imperative to find engaging activities grows stronger with each passing day. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, crafting, meditating, or some other activity, keeping ourselves occupied is absolutely essential to maintaining our sanity.
One of the biggest lessons we have all learned during this crisis is the importance of staying motivated and active. Depression, already a very common condition which affects over 18 million people in the U.S. each year, can make you not feel like doing anything. If you or someone you know is struggling, try to engage in some fulfilling projects which will help to provide some structure and a sense of accomplishment.
One activity which is making a particularly strong resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic is at-home fermentation projects. Once upon a time, fermenting foods and beverages was a very common practice. For foods, it provided a way to preserve what we grew so it could be stored for much longer periods of time. For beverages, it was a way to make tasty and healthy drinks, such as kefir, as well as alcoholic beverages, such as beer or mead.
If you’ve been running out of things to do during your at-home isolation, give fermentation a try. With foods, the benefits are twofold: you get fascinating flavors that can jazz up your cooking if it’s been in a rut, and you also get a number of health benefits that come with eating food with active bacterial cultures.
Here are some of the most popular fermented foods and drinks that you can make at home. If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t worry — the process is often much simpler than you’d expect, and the materials you need are rarely expensive. Quite often, you actually end up saving money! So without further ado, below are some projects you can get started today:
Kimchi is made with essentially the same ingredients as sauerkraut, but it hails from Korea rather than Germany. Like sauerkraut, the main ingredient is cabbage, with onions and carrots also featuring prominently. However, there are some key differences in the preparation which give this fermented food a unique kick.
Not only does kimchi contain garlic, but it is also prepared with fresh ginger and chili peppers to give the food a powerful underlying spice which elevates any dish it accompanies. The period of fermentation kimchi goes through serves to amplify the flavors , making it a side dish that you won’t forget. Kimchi also works great as a condiment for sandwiches that need an extra oomph.
Kombucha is probably one of the first fermentation projects people think of when they picture at-home fermented foods and beverages. This healthy probiotic drink is easy to make at home, requiring just black or green tea, sugar, a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and some kombucha starter (typically kombucha from a past batch.
Kombucha is well-known for its benefits when it comes to gut health. Sometimes referred to as the “forgotten organ,” the microbiome has a huge impact on our health. By eating and drinking fermented foods and beverages such as kombucha, you can help keep your gut flora happy and healthy.
For the ever-growing population of elders in the U.S., which is expected to double by 2040, caution is advised. While the probiotic drink is generally well-tolerated, it can pose a slight risk to the elderly and the immunocompromised. Have the elders in your life consult with a physician before they start regularly consuming kombucha.
The process of fermentation tends to make fermented foods and beverages particular potent when it comes to flavor. For this reason, what better food to ferment than hot sauce? If you have an adventurous palate and want to take some hot dishes to the next level, try this easy a- home hot sauce recipe. Find a jar and give your chiles some time to get acquainted with a bit of garlic, vinegar, and lime juice — you won’t be disappointed.
You can take these fermentation activities with you even once we emerge from quarantine. 10,000 people turn 65 every year — these easy fermented food projects are the perfect task to do with the older folks in your life. Keep fermenting, and enjoy the sense of fulfillment and the health benefits that come with it.