My Top 5 Fermented Food Recipes
- Before I discovered the ancient practice of fermentation I didn’t realize that eating expired food can be so beneficial.
- Nowadays, I see fermented foods, things like sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir as a form of health insurance.
- Making my own homemade probiotics saves money over the long term on doctor’s visits, prescription drugs and missed quality of life.
- Not to mention the rejuvenation that happens in the body as its natural healing abilities are restored over time.
What are Fermented Foods?
Fermentation is a process in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This action preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Why Fermented Foods?
- Absorb Food Better – If you are not digesting the nutrients, vitamins and minerals in your food, then you are probably not absorbing enough nutrition to maintain good health. This is where the good ol’ probiotics come in. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live and produce themselves naturally in the intestinal tract in healthy people. Unfortunately, things like chlorinated tap water, sugar, and antibiotics reduce the probiotics and good bacteria in your intestinal tract. Therefore many people lack probiotics to achieve full digestion and optimal health.
- Probiotics – Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, raw nut and seeds cheeses, miso, fermented porridge and the like, are not only delicious and a marvelous addition to your diet; they are also rich in probiotics that are necessary good health.
- Boosts Immune System – About 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Studies have shown that optimal numbers of ‘good’ bacteria increase the immune system’s ability to fight disease.
- Our gut manufactures about 95% of our body’s serotonin which is known as the happiness hormone. If our gut lacks the good bacteria, we may start experiencing low moods and anxiety.
wud love to try!
If you are thinking, I would love to give this a try but it sounds too difficult. Think again! Making fermented foods is very easy and preparation so quick you won’t have an excuse not to give this a go. Plus, there are different types of fermented foods that you can try making yourself so you decide which one rocks your boat and which doesn’t.
- Keep in mind that when eating raw fermented foods, the portion size is modest. Enzymes act as catalysts in our digestion and are needed in sufficient quantities. We will receive the enzyme benefit of raw krauts, for example, in portions as small as a couple tablespoons.
1. Cultured Vegetables
Raw sauerkraut is an extremely healthy food. It is an excellent source of enzymes, vitamin B-complex, Vitamin B-12, vitamin K as well as Vitamin C.
- 1 cabbage, very finely shredded (10 cups)
- Reserved outer leaves of cabbage to cover the cabbage kraut
- 1 tsp sea salt (i.e. celtic sea salt)
- Put the shredded cabbage into a large bowl. Add the salt and gently massage it into the cabbage until the liquid starts to release (this is optional but well worth the effort).
- Pack the mixture firmly into a large jar. Press the cabbage down until the liquid rises above it about an 1/8”. Place reserved leaves over the top, allowing them to cover the mixture. Cover the jar loosely with the jar cover or a clean dish towel.
- Allow the kraut to ferment in a cool, dark place for at least 3 days and up to 14 days, depending up the desired degree of sourness.
- Once the kraut is ready, store in sealed jars in the refrigerator for up to several months.
2. Coconut Kefir Yogurt
Kefir is nature’s ultimate super probiotic, it is a collection of over 56 different probiotic strains that inhabit our gut. Other probiotics contain usually around two probiotic strains and they do not incorporate into, and inhabit the gut.
- Activated Milk Kefir Grains
- Coconut Milk
- To make coconut milk kefir, place the milk kefir grains in coconut milk.
- Stir with a non-metal spoon.
- Cover with coffee filter or cloth, secured by a rubber band.
- Culture at room temperature, 68°-85°F
- After 12 hours, begin checking the coconut milk kefir every few hours, up to a maximum of 24 hours. Remove the milk kefir grains once the coconut kefir reaches the desired consistency and store the yogurt in the fridge.
- Make a new batch by repeating the process.
- You can do a double fermentation. Once you have removed the grains allow the yogurt to sit for an extra 24 hours. This process will make the coconut yogurt more nutritious.
- Serve the yogurt with fresh fruits (see video), pour over granola or blend the yogurt with berries.
3. Miso soup
Miso is a paste made from soybeans, sea salt, and koji (a mold starter). The mixture is allowed to ferment between 3 months to 3 years, which produces an enzyme-rich food. Miso has anti-aging properties and helps to maintain healthy skin. You can find miso in most health food stores.
Ingredients: serves 2
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup chopped green chard or
- any other veggies – carrots, pepper, baby corn etc.
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup tempeh, cubed (optional)
- 3-4 Tbsp white miso paste
- 1 sheet (1/4 cup) nori (dried seaweed), cut into large rectangles
- Place water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a low simmer.
- Add your vegetables and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- In the meantime, place 3 Tbsp of miso into a small bowl, add a little hot water and whisk until smooth. Then add to the soup and stir. This will ensure it doesn’t clump.
- Turn of the heat add your paste and nori. This will ensure that the enzymes stay in tact.
- Taste and add more miso or a pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve warm.
4. Fermented Porridge
You can use any flour of your choice to make this dish as long as it is not wheat flour. My preferred choices are millet & sorghum flour. Amaranth and maize flour also work well. If you are worried about killing the beneficial probiotics when cooking the porridge please read this recommended article.
- 1/4 cup millet flour,
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup water
- Mix millet flour, sorghum flour and water together and cover. Leaving for at least 3 days before use and you have a fermented food easy peasy.
- To cook it just bring to boil 1 cup water or plant based milk (i.e. rice or almond milk) then add 1/2 cup of the mixed flour – make sure it is mixed.
- As you cook, make sure you are stirring consistently for the first 2 minutes to avoid formation of ‘lumps’ in your uji. Simmer uncovered for another 1 minute and BAM. Serve. Add some honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup or stevia if required.
5. Kombucha (Fermented Tea)
Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that has been around for centuries. It has a tangy and sweet flavor and can be double fermented with fruit or juice to make a fizzy drink similar to soft drinks. It is considered a good source of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid
The Kombucha is brewed with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Yeast and Bacteria) that “eats” the sugars in the sweetened tea and creates an acidic, vitamin and probiotic rich beverage. There are several ways to acquire a SCOBY.
- If you know anyone who already brews Kombucha, ask them for an extra SCOBY and they will probably be glad to pass one on.
- You can order a SCOBY from an online source like amazon.
- Grow your own. See this video to learn how.
(This recipe is for one gallon. Scale up or down to make as much as you need.)
- Gallon size glass jar (make sure its really clean!!)
- 1 gallon of brewed sweetened tea (ratio: 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea)
- I use about 5 organic green tea bags, though some use black tea.
- a SCOBY and 1 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha
- Breathable clothe and a rubber band or string
- To make the tea boil 1 liter of water. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea bags and brew for about 5-10 mins. Discard the teabags and allow the tea to cool down to room temperature
- Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar. Add 2 and half liters of water into the jar and add your starter tea. Gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band or string. This will prevent the fruit flies from finding refuge.
- Ferment for 7 to 10 days. Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
- A new layer of scoby usually starts forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days.
- After 7 days, start tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
- Remove the scoby from the jar.
- Bottle the finished kombucha. Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles using the small funnel, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle.
- Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another covered jar, strain, and then bottle.
- Store the kombucha in the fridge.