You may have heard a lot about probiotics and how good they are for you.
Did you know that eating fermented foods can give you the same benefits
without taking a pill? And you can make them yourself if you have a few
days and a desire to cook.

Fermented foods have made a comeback because they are packed with microflora
that can provide a safe, inexpensive, and natural way to boost your immune
system. You may not have heard of some of these because they are not common
in most kitchens. There might be one that you like enough to have just a
small serving every day. Our list includes a little bit about these foods as
well as how to prepare them yourself, if possible, or alternately what brands
we like if you buy them already prepared.

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is typically made from water, salt and cabbage. You can purchase
many different flavors of sauerkraut. The sour taste comes from the breakdown
of lactose by the probiotic bacteria native to the cabbage. This essentially
draws all the air out of a mason jar that has the cabbage and salt in it. You
simply let the jar sit and ferment and you've got home-made sauerkraut.

2. Kefir

First, how do you pronounce it? Kefir is simply just fermented milk. It has
a texture of a melted milk shake and it comes in multiple flavors. My favorite
brand is Maple Hill Creamery because it's made from grass-fed dairy and there
is a plain version that has no added sugar. If you have any problems with dairy
this should not be your first choice, unless you purchase one made from coconut
milk or almond milk. Watch out for brands that have a lot of added sugar. You can
also purchase kefir starter if you want to make your own. Kefir is a great source
of protein, vitamin B and calcium.


9 Health Benefits of Kefir

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is probably the most common and widely consumed fermented food. Unfortunately,
it is often processed with a lot of sugar. Like Kefir it is a dairy product unless
you get yogurt made from coconut or almond milk. Yogurt is actually fairly easy to
make with just milk, heat and time. There are kits you can purchase for under $20 or
you can do it yourself, with a bit more work, without a kit.

Recipe for homemade yogurt

4. Apple cider vinegar

This one is probably the least expensive and easiest way to consume fermented foods.
There are a few easy ways to get one or two teaspoons per day, which is all you need.
My favorite way to get it is in salad dressing. Making your own salad dressing can be
as simple as pouring vinegar and olive oil into a jar with a little salt, pepper and
garlic. If you find the apple cider vinegar is too tangy, add another vinegar to the
mix. You can also mix apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it.

5. Pickles

Not all pickles are fermented foods. Most pickles in the grocery store are pickled with
vinegar, which is the acid that ferments them. Unfortunately they don't have the same
powerful probiotic benefit. Pickles made without vinegar are fermented using a starter
or bacteria, salt, and water. Here are a few clues to watch for pickles that are
fermented are not made with vinegar and if you purchase them in a grocery store they
will be refrigerated. This article explains the difference.

The Crucial Difference Between Pickled and Fermented

6. Kombucha

You are likely to see lots of kombucha sold at your local grocery store. It's better to
buy one that isn't loaded with sugar. Kombucha is made from tea, water, sugar, yeast, and
bacteria. The bacteria and yeast consume the sugar, which makes it a fizzy, tangy soda
alternative that has the added benefit of probiotics, Vitamin B and acetic acid. Kombucha
can contain a small amount of alcohol. The starter required to make kombucha (which is the
bacteria that starts the fermentation) can be taken from a batch of pre-made kombucha.

kombucha Recipe

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is very similar to Tofu, but far less popular. It is made from fermented soybeans.
It is a good source of protein if you are vegetarian and it's less processed than tofu.

Quinoa salad with Tempeh

8. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermenting soybeans. It's not easy to make
yourself but you can purchase a miso paste that can be added to soups and stir fries. Miso is
high in Vitamin K and protein.

Easy recipe for Miso soup

9. Raw Cheese

Raw cheese can be difficult to find unless you live near something like a Whole Foods or other
high end grocery store. Raw cheese is actually allowed by the FDA if it has been aged longer
than 60 days, because they consider that long enough to kill any harmful pathogens. Raw cheeses
are extremely common in Europe.

Some ;ike It Raw The State of Unpasteurized Cheese in The U.S

10. Kimchi

The first thing I should warn you about is that Kimchi can have a very strong smell which can
be off-putting. If you can get past that, it's delicious. It's a traditional Korean dish and
can be spicy.  Kimchi is normally made from napa cabbage or daikon radish.

Basic Napa Cabbage Kimchi Kimchee

11. Natto

Natto is a traditional Japanese breakfast food served with miso soup, rice and fish.
It's no wonder the Japanese are so healthy in comparison to the US, because so many
of the fermented foods are staples in their diet.  Similar to Kimchi, it can have
a strong smell which prevents many people from trying it.


12. Kvass

Kvass is a drink like kombucha, but it is traditionally made with rye bread and vegetables.
Today people often skip the bread and make it with just veggies, fruit, salt, bacteria and
yeast. It is fizzy just like kombucha.

Recipe for beet kvass

Authentic Russian kvass

12 Fermented Foods to Add to Your Diet


11 Surprisingly Tasty Fermented Foods

10 Healthiest Foods and Vegetables

The Grocer's Encyclopedia

What Eats?

Fermentation in food processing

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