After watching the popularity of “Safe Starches” blossom in the Paleo community over the past few months, I decided some experimentation was in order. Potatoes and white rice are cheap foods, and who couldn’t use a little help with their budget nowadays? Past forays into the world of starch did not go well for me. Potatoes, rice and corn don’t seem to play well with my stomach.
I did, however, become hopeful again when I started learning how to ferment foods. I can’t say that I’m brand new to fermented foods, as I’ve been fed fermented sauerkraut for as long as I can remember, and I always remember having fermented pickles in the house. However, the fermented foods I ate were always store bought, never fermented at home… and anyone who has ever purchased fermented foods in the store knows how pricey they can be! But more than that, the fermented foods you typically find in a store (cabbage, carrots, yogurt, etc) were not the foods I was looking for. When is the last time you saw lacto fermented rice in the grocery store?
But I knew our friendly little lactobacilli friends (read: the friendly bacteria found in yogurt and probiotics) will eat the heck out of starch and sugar. So, my plan went, they should make rice easier for me to digest, possibly allowing me to eat rice without pain and therefore lowering my grocery bill. It was all such a cunning plan!
It did, in fact, make the rice easier to digest. (Both brown and white rice.) So if your intestines are in good working order, this may be a good plan for rice. If your have any intestinal problems, I’d probably still stay away from it. (But that’s me, and to be clear, I am not a doctor.)
Also, people I fed the rice to did not seem to notice a difference in taste or texture, so this does seem to be something you can feed to others without a noticeable difference in the texture of your food.
That said, if you do eat rice on any regular basis, fermenting does seem to be a good way to break down foods and make nutrients more available to your body. It also increases the amount of certain nutrients contained in these foods – many of which seem to be in the B vitamin family.
Update on vitamin content from the comments:
“About 100gm of cooked rice has only 3.4mg of iron, while for the same quantity of rice fermented for 12 hours, the iron content went up to 73.91mg. Likewise, sodium, which was 475mg came down to 303mg, potassium went up to 839mg and calcium went up from 21mg per 100gm of cooked rice to 850mg, after 12 hours of fermentation of the same quantity of rice,” Barooah said.
(Found on The Telegraph)
So, if you are interested in trying this experiment for yourself, here’s how I did it.