Hundreds of scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods bubble with benefits and help you stay healthy!
Since I moved to Ireland, fermented foods have begun to disappear from my plate. Very often Irish pickles are made with vinegar, instead of the traditional method of fermentation using salt, hence killing off all the good bacteria we so desperately need to maintain health. And there are many advantages to going back to eating more fermented foods. “Fermented foods help people stay healthy,” says Sandor Katz in his book “The Art of Fermentation” who very recently visited Ballymaloe Lit Fest.
Here are just a few benefits of eating fermented foods I can think of;
- Fermented foods improve digestion
- Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut
- Fermented foods are rich in enzymes
- Fermenting food increases the vitamin content
- Eating fermented food helps us to absorb the nutrients we’re consuming
- Fermenting food helps to preserve it for longer periods of time. So if you’ve got a huge batch of produce in your garden that you don’t know how to use up — ferment it!
- Fermenting food is inexpensive
- Fermenting food increases the flavour. There’s a reason humans enjoy drinking wine and eating stinky cheese 🙂
I’ll be posting more fermented food recipes in the next few months and I hope adding them to your diet will be an easy process. Today let’s start with dill pickle soup.
I love dill pickles, grew up on them. If you’re into your pickles too, you’ll love this hearty, sour and delicious soup with fermented dill pickles as a base. This recipe has been passed on to me by my beloved granny and it is by far my favourite Polish soup.
One word about the type of pickles to use. You can buy good jarred dill pickles in every Eastern European shop but avoid cucumbers pickled with sugar and vinegar. The ones pickled with salt, some garlic, pepper and dill are most suitable or you can use homemade (recipe coming soon).
- 2L chicken stock (I cook it with 2 chicken tights. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock.)
- 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 small parsnip, diced
- 1/2 celeriac, cut into chunks
- 4 bay leaf
- 8 allspices
- chopped fresh dill
- 500g dill pickles, grated
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature (I usually use Glenisk)
- salt and pepper to taste
With that combo of flavours, what’s not to love?
To make the stock base: place chicken tights, carrot, parsnip and celeriac in a large stockpot. Add bay leaf and allspices. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked.
Once the carrots are soft, add diced potatoes and grated dill pickles to the mix and cook for a further 25 minutes. Add pickle juice, to taste. At this time, transfer about 1 cup of soup into a bowl. Add sour cream (at room temperature) to the same and mix to combine. Pour the sour cream mixture back into the pot, stir through a few times and turn off the heat.
Serve hot with chopped fresh dill.