It is no secret that I like fermented foods… ok, so I LOVE fermented foods! They are far from a ‘health fad’ with many different cultures passing on their own fermented recipes and traditions, each specific to their country, region and the ingredients availble that season.
Traditionally fermenting and preserving was a way to store foods and prevent them from rotting in less than ideal conditions – refrigerators are a relatively new invention – but apart from being a way to store food, these delicious fermented creations are also bursting with health benefits! AND you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost, in most cases once you are up and running they pay for themselves.
Here are 6 of my go to fermented foods:
I was going to say this was my favourite fermented food… but I felt like I was cheating on the others so I won’t. Sauerkraut is one of the most simple recipes EVER! It has a grand total of 2 ingredients (1. Cabbage 2. Salt) and it undergoes Lacto-Fermentation aka uses the Lactobacillus bacteria that convert the sugars into lactic acid, acting as a preservative. It is bursting with good bacteria benefits! Supporting the digestive system, immune health, toxin clearance, detoxification – there is a long list.
Start with 1 – 2 tablespoons a day and build up to around ¼ cup. Add it to salads, have straight, serve with cashew cheese on a homemade seed cracker – it’s up to you have inventive you want to get… we love it out of the jar.
Kim Chi is sauerkrauts spicy cousin, very similar processes to make but we add a little ginger, chili, shallots and they all have a very wonderful time in the jar. If you are not a lover of heat I recommend try it by making your own, as specialty store bought tends to have quite a bit of heat. Start with 1 – 2 tablespoons a day and build your way up.
Note – best avoided for people with inflammatory digestive conditions as the chili may aggravate conditions. see link below for recipe.
When I left for my travels, I also had to say goodbye to my SCOBY hotel (it was a sad day on all counts). Kombucha is known as the ‘Elixir of life’, and it is delicious! Similar taste to a not so bubbly ginger beer – but so much better for you! Kombucha is again bursting with good bacteria to support digestive health, detoxification, skin health, hormone levels and more.
Start with ½ a cup every second day and work your way up to 1 cup a day. *note* due to the fermentation of the sugar there may be tiny traces of alcohol present… and I mean tiny! Recipe in link below.
KEFIR AND YOGHURT
Kefir is very similar to yoghurt, you are able to enjoy kefir using dairy (ie animal milk) or non dairy (ie coconut mylk) and there are even water-based granules available (ie coconut water). Kefir and yoghurt have similar health benefits and BOTH are rather easy to make at home.
If you are looking to purchase a store bought yoghurt… a couple notes:
1. AVOID all products that have added fruits, sugars or ingredients. It is a much healthier option to grab a whole fat organic plain yoghurt and add your own fruit, nuts and seeds.
2. ALWAYS read the ingredients
3. TRY something different, back home we have some amazing coconut yoghurt (looove HelloCoco!) give it a try, enjoy the different health benefits and see what works for your body.
Ah Miso, I have not had the pleasure of making you at home – but I will. Miso is the salty fermented soybean paste, similar to vegemite you either love it or hate it. It also supports digestive health and is mineral rich. I personally love to have my miso added to a soup (Ta Da! Miso soup!) a little added seaweed, vegetables and you have yourself one rather delicious nutrient dense meal.
Start with 1 teaspoon and work up from there. You won’t need much miso as it can very rather salty. **Avoid if allergic to soy or have been recommended to do so by your health practitioner.
Now the fun part… where to find all the goodness:
Cultures for Health – Website – to find culture starters and recipe links
The Art of Fermentation – Book – everything you ever needed to know about fermentation
Peace Love and Vegetables – Products – buy before you try at home with these delicious ferments
HelloCoco – Product – a freaking delicious artisanal coconut yoghurt
Green Kitchen Stories Kimchi recipe – Recipe – Blog share
D.Ln Kombucha recipe – Recipe
The Kitchn Sauerkraut recipe – Recipe – Blog share