We all use fermented food products. Yet some of us don’t know what is fermentation or what does it constitute of. So here is a small post on fermentation.
In food processing fermentation typically refers to the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination of both under anaerobic conditions. A more straight definition of fermentation is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol.
Fermentation means that the action of the microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation is also used in preservation techniques to create lactic acid in sour foods such as dry sausages, khimchi and yoghurt, or vinegar (acetic acid) for use in pickling foods.
The primary benefit of fermentation is the conversion of sugars and other carbohydrates, e.g., converting juice into wine, grains into beer, carbohydrates into carbon dioxide to leaven bread, and sugars in vegetables into preservative organic acids.
In India, we use a lot of fermented foods like pickles, yoghurt, idli, dosa, dhokla and carrot kanji (fermented drink made with carrots). Pickling of mango, lime and other vegetables is a very common practice in every indian household. There are various kinds of pickles that are made usually in the summers and then these pickles are consumed for a year or more than a year. Sweet, sour as well as spicy pickles are made. e.g. sweet and sour mango pickle.
Food fermentation has been said to serve five main purposes:
- it reduces the cooking time.
- detoxification during food-fermentation processing.
- dietary enrichment due to development of a diversity of aromas, flavors, and textures in food substrates.
- biological enrichment of food substrates with protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids.
- preservation of substantial amounts of food through acetic acid, lactic acid, alcohol and alkaline fermentations.