Pickling is a catch all term for foods preserved in acid or brine. Although fermentation might be considered a type of pickling it actually describes a natural chemical reaction. Fermentation is distinct from standard pickling because it produces good bacteria. Good bacteria helps digest your food and fight bad bacteria and toxins. A layer of good bacteria protects the gut wall and is the body’s first line of defence against infections and disease.
Both pickles and fermented vegetables have a sour, tangy taste so it’s easy to see how they are confused. However, they are worlds apart when it comes to health benefits. Fermented vegetables contain lots of good bacteria whereas pickles preserved in brine or vinegar don’t. Good bacteria taken on through food can support the existing bacteria in the gut and help prevent harmful bacteria from taking over.
The good bacteria produced during fermentation break down sugars and starches and produce lactic acid that naturally preserves the vegetables. Whereas standard pickles have an acid, like vinegar, added. Pickles created through adding vinegar don’t cultivate the growth of good bacteria. The sour taste of pickles comes from the addition of vinegar whereas the tangy taste of fermented vegetables comes primarily from the production of lactic acid during the fermentation process. Lactic acid isn’t as acidic as vinegar and is in fact an acid that the body naturally produces during exercise or exertion when there isn’t insufficient oxygen available.
Fabulous ferments have all the tangy taste of the perfect pickle but also all the great health benefits of a food rich in good bacteria. Fermented vegetables are the dual benefit condiment tasty and healthy.