Before the invention of refrigeration, fermenting was the preferred method of food preservation all over the world. Not only does fermentation preserve food, but it actually increases it’s nutritional value but adding pro-biotics (beneficial bacteria) to your gut, which can aid in digestion and strengthen the immune system! Fermented foods come in all forms and flavors, so there is something for everyone.
Learn more about fermentation and why to do it:
Fermented foods are naturally sour and have rich, varied flavors. Fermented vegetables include include pickles and sauerkraut, but are better than the ones from the grocery store, which are made with vinegar, sugar and often nasty chemicals and preservatives. They make a great side dish for meats and cooked veggies!
When you mention fermented beverages, people usually think of alcohol, but there are many other wonderful drinks to choose from. This is probably my favorite fermentation category! So many of these drinks are refreshing and delicious. If you are trying to kick the soda habit, there are some great alternatives to choose from, because often fermentation makes beverages naturally carbonated! I love making homemade kefir soda, because it’s delicious and my kids drink it like its going out of style!
Fermented Dairy and Dairy Replacements
Yogurt is one of the most well known fermented (cultured) foods in North America. Most people have had yogurt and you can find it in grocery stores everywhere. But it’s really not difficult to make yourself. If you already enjoy yogurt, you should try it’s slightly more sour cousin, kefir. Milk kefir is great in smoothies and on it’s own and has sen more beneficial bacterias than yogurt. And for those of you who can’t tolerate milk, we have even included a yogurt for you!
Fermented and then Baked: Sourdough
Although sourdough bread itself doesn’t contain pro-biotics after you bake it, the process of fermenting the dough makes it so much easier to digest and for your body to absorb the nutrients! If you don’t already soak, sour and sprout your grains, you should! Sourdough is my absolute favorite kind of bread and it’s hard to keep around because my kids love it so much! Making your own starter is easy! And once you have starter you can use it for pancakes and biscuits too!
And last, but not least, fermenting your own condiments will not only save you money at the grocery store, but these provide a natural tangy flavor, along with the added health benefits and beneficial bacteria in your gut!
So, happy fermenting! But, be careful. Once you start, you won’t want to stop. It’s crazy awesome like that!!!
If you need starter cultures for kombucha, kefir, etc, you can buy them here!
To learn more about about fermented foods, check out this post by Cheeseslave.
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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am just a mom who shares what works for me!