I have talked a bit in the past about the benefits of probiotics, however I have been amazed to learn how specifically important probiotics are to those of us with autoimmune disorders. Research on probiotics is still in its infancy, but already the findings are amazing. In fact, certain strains of probiotics have already been shown to reduce inflammation, decrease intestinal inflammation, and modulate the immune system to keep it from becoming over-active. (1)
So, how do we take full advantage of these helpful little bacteria? Supplements are a great start, but fermented foods are where its at! While a big piece of going AIP is eliminating certain foods it is almost equally as important to add in healing foods, such as probiotic drinks and fermented fruits and vegetables. The benefits of eating fermented foods on top of taking a probiotic supplement are largely based on the concept of variety. Fermented foods contain a slightly different type of bacteria with every batch, and while supplements usually contain anywhere from one to nine strains of bacteria, analysis of different fermentations of sauerkraut yielded a total of 686 strains of probiotic bacteria (1).
Honestly, this is an area that is taking me longer to embrace. I did start making my own kombucha over the winter and that has become a regular part of my routine, but outside of that I haven’t tried much fermentation. We’ve been enjoying some wonderful watermelon this summer and one day I decided that I really didn’t want to waste all of the rind. I researched fermenting it and came up with this recipe. They do not taste anything like you may expect. They are salty at first, from the brine, but end up being delightfully crisp and tangy with a little hint of spice. This was a super fun and inexpensive way to start experimenting with fermentation. I highly recommend giving it a try this summer!
Fermented Spiced Watermelon Rinds Recipe:
– rind from one watermelon
– sea salt
– filtered water
– cinnamon sticks
Cut away the pink and green parts of the watermelon leaving only the white inner rind. Cut this into one inch chunks. In a medium bowl make a brine of 2 TBS of sea salt to one quart of water. Make as much as you need following this ratio. Place you watermelon chunks into your mason jars, along with 1 cinnamon stick and about ½ TSP of whole cloves. Cover with brine leaving about an inch of room at the top of the jars. Cover and allow them to sit and ferment for 1-3 days at room temperature. During this time you may need to burp the jars occasionally to release some of the gas build up. Do this by slightly loosening the lid or canning ring on your jars, listening a hiss of gas escaping, and tighten the lid again. When they are done, transfer them to the fridge. They should keep for months.
Citation: (1) Ballantyne, Sarah. The paleo approach: reverse autoimmune disease and heal your body. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing Inc. , 2013. Print.