No matter how good a refrigerator is, foods go bad eventually. But before there were refrigerators, Africans knew of a natural way to extend the shelf life of products.
Fermentation is a metabolic process which creates a chemical change in foods or beverages, promoting the growth of healthy bacteria known as probiotics, which help combat the bad toxins in our bodies. Gut health is the latest trend now, but it has been a cultural tradition in Africa for centuries.
Dating back thousands of years, Africans fermented grain-based foods, root vegetables, beverages, and much more. The tradition has been so ingrained in African history, it’s possible that Africa is where the fermentation technique originated.
Fermentation not only helped create healthy bacteria, but made preserving foods more efficient. Ogi, which is fermented sorghum, or Amasi, fermented milk, are two of the most common dishes made through fermentation. But with so much history in this tradition, the continent doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
As fermented food and drinks continue to be increasingly popular, let’s not forget how Black people have played an integral role in the health technique, and why it’s important for us to continue that tradition by taking care of our gut health.