Humans have prepared fermented foods and vegetables for many years, long before modern preservation methods like refrigeration came about. We know that fermented foods were a part of most, if not all native diets. While many cultures today still incorporate these foods into their diets regularly, in some parts of the world preparing ferments has become a lost practice.
Fermenting may seem daunting but it is actually really easy. If you are buying fermented foods regularly, you can save quite a bit of money by making them yourself. If you have yet to introduce fermented foods into your diet, what are you waiting for? Most of them taste really great (albeit a bit tangy!). There are some amazing health benefits to eating a diet rich in fermented foods:
- Aids in digestion
- Are loaded with beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics
- Supports your immune system
- May help to curb sugar cravings
- Promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the gut
- Increases flavor of foods
Here are my best tips for success. Most of the recipes below go into some good detail to set you up properly as well:
Materials: glass and ceramic jars work the best. I like the classic glass Ball jars and use them for most everything I ferment. I have different sizes glasses depending on what I am fermenting.
Preparation: for vegetable ferments, clean your produce well of dirt and grime to ensure a successful fermentation process. Also, buy organic when possible to ensure that the produce has not come into contact with pesticides.
When to stop: leave your ferment alone for the time suggested. Trust the process and only check on the ferment if absolutely necessary – like if you see mold. This is a risk for ferments, but it is easy to spot and deal with, usually. Black and bright pink are typically mold, while white is generally ok except when it is “fuzzy”. Often times you can scrape off the mold and move on. If the mold is throughout the ferment its best to throw out and start over.
Here are my go-to, easy recipes:
Fermented Whole Radishes
Quick Pickled Red Onion (not truly a ferment, but I love this recipe)
Fermented Beets with Cumin and Basil