A Pickle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Benefits of fermented foods in your diet

By: Anna Simon

The Difference between pickled/canned and fermented foods

Canned foods reduce nutritional and bacterial value in the heating process while fermented foods gain their flavor from the natural probiotics, enhance nutrition and have enzymes to aid in digestion. Store bought preserved vegetables are all canned. Canned produce will still have value, but without any enzymes and probiotics, so really the big winner here is fermented in relation to your health. And, yes, technically a fermented cucumber is not pickled, but it can still taste like one!

Types of fermented foods

It’s not just pickles!

You can ferment just about any vegetable. I have cabbage, beets and radish in my basement pantry right now.

AND It’s not just vegetables!

Yogurt and kefir are examples of fermented dairy products.

Raw Apple cider vinegar is a great store bought fermented product.

Kombucha – homemade is best. Store bought is good. Watch out for added sugars.

Why fermented foods?

  1. Health benefits

Research backs incredible health and digestion benefits of eating fermented foods as part of a regular diet. Eat fermented foods with each meal. 

  1. Preserve foods and increase shelf life
  2. Add/change flavor

How to start eating and making fermented foods at home – Quick, Easy and Cheap

You are thinking, “ok, so fermented vegetables aren’t sold in stores. How do I get them?”

You make them – (Recipe below)

It’s seriously simple to ferment veggies – easier than canning.

For store bought fermented foods –  look for organic, whole milk unsweetened yogurt with at least 5 bacteria listed, unsweetened kefir (at least 2% fat), raw apple cider vinegar or kimchi!

You can also make your own yogurt (yup, you’ve now got that recipe, too!)

Did this convince you to include fermented foods as a regular part of your daily diet?

You can request a fermentation consult for more indepth help on homemade fermentation methods at Happianna1@gmail.com.

Homemade Yogurt in Crock Pot

½ gallon Organic Valley whole milk

½  cup store bought yogurt

Heat milk on low for 2.5 hours. Turn crock-pot off and let sit covered for 3 hours. Take out 1 cup milk into bowl and mix with the yogurt. Pour mixture back in and mix into crockpot. Cover with large towel to keep heat in over night. From here you can strain through a cheese cloth for greek yogurt or leave as is. The liquid strained off is whey – great for soaking beans, adding to fermented veggies or drinking straight!

Fermented Veggies at Home

Brine – 3 tbsp salt to 4 cups water

Pack cut vegetables in jar. Top with brine and leave at least 1 inch head space. If veggies float to top use cabbage leaf or jar weight to hold below brine. Screw lid on lightly. Leave 3-6 days and transfer to cool storage or eat! How do I know if the fermentation is complete? Once it’s got that zing-zang to it’s bite it’s ready to eat! Once opened they can last up to a year in the fridge. Here’s an article with more detailed information and recipes!