This Article is About
pickle
good bacteria
large intestine
small intestine
sauerkraut
In A Pickle
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In A Pickle

If you have not regularly eaten naturally fermented foods, or you drink chlorinated and/or fluoridated water or if you recently took a round of antibiotics, chances are you have not got enough "friendly bacteria" in your digestive track. Why would you want to have bacteria there? Well, normally we humans have about a hundred trillion cells of bacteria in our intestines. There are at least fifty different types. Some of them are good guys and some are not.

You may have heard of acidophilus, which likes to live in the large intestine and bifidus which likes to live in the small intestine and lower part of the stomach. These are only two kinds of bacteria that are considered "friendly" (i.e. good for us). These friendly guys help digestion and protect your body from invasion by bad guys -- the kind of bacteria that make you ill.

When you take an antibiotic or anything that is made to kill bacteria, it will kill all the bacteria--not just the type it was supposed to get rid of. And without friendly bacteria in your gut, other not-so-good bacteria can take up residence and over populate. That leads to trouble such as digestive trouble and poor defenses against anything harmful to your system.

An easy way to replace this good bacteria is to eat pickled and fermented food on a regular basis. Many kinds of foods can be fermented or pickled and every traditional culture has its version of this. You may think of cucumbers when you think of pickles, or cabbage to make sauerkraut. How about pickled herring, pickled pigs' feet, the Asian fermented beans and grains made into miso and soy sauce?

Now one thing you should know is that if you purchase a jar of pickles you are likely getting something that was pasteurized and therefore no longer has any live bacteria in it. Or, if you buy yogurt which is a popular way to replace good bacteria into your system, you are likewise probably not getting live bacteria that was naturally produced in the yogurt-making process. Most commercial yogurts have bacteria such as acidophilus after yogurt was made. Likewise, all soy sauce does not have live bacteria because most brands are also pasteurized.

But don't be in a pickle about it! It doesn't take too much work to make your own pickled or fermented foods at home where you aren't going to kill the naturally occurring good bacteria. These can be incorporated into your diet many ways and they can add a lot of flair to your meals.

The pickled vegetable that we usually call, "Pickles" couldn't be easier to make.

Good Ol' Pickles

  • 5-6 Kirby cucumbers, washed and quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • Pickling Spices
  • 1 cup Spring water
  • 2 cups Cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 5 Cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Quart clean jar with lid

Pickling Spices*

  • 3 Whole cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves or 2 tsps dried bay leaves
  • 1 Small dried chili pepper
  • 1 Tsp black peppercorn
  • 1 Tbl coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbl whole mustard seeds
  • 1 Tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tsp cumin seeds

In a small pot bring your spring water, vinegar, brown rice syrup and salt to a boil while you clean and quarter your cukes. Pack the cukes in a jar and add the pickling spices and the garlic. When the salt is dissolved in the boiling water, cool the mixture down enough to pour into the jar. You want the cukes to be fully covered with the water so if you need to add more liquid you can pour in some more vinegar. Put the lid on the jar and put it in the refrigerator for about three weeks and . . Voila! . . . you have good ol' pickles.

* Pickling spices can also include things like dried ground ginger, chili pepper flakes, coriander, cinnamon sticks, mace, and cardimom. Dill pickles would of course include dill seeds and dill. You can buy pickling spices already assembled, but beware: If the ingredients don't list out the individual herbs and spices and just says "spices," then it may also have chemical additives such as MSG which you probably don't want. Unfortunately it is legal to include such things in something labeled "spices." I only use all organic ingredients with no additives in anything I make.

There are so many ways to regain strong intestinal health by using pickled and fermented foods!


Street Talk

Sherry B.  

Very good advice! I never knew that they put chemical additives in "spices." I'll definitely have to try your recipe, it sounds good!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Ouch! Spices can include chemical additives such as MSG. Did not realize that... will avoid "spices" as an ingredient from now on for sure. Thanks for an informative article.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Pickles rock! Going to save these recipes. Thanks!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Great info here, thanks!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Joan S  

Oh, I love all kinds of pickles. Thank you.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Me too, Joan. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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