fermented foods

What is Fermentation?

fer·men·ta·tion

/ˌfərmənˈtāSH(ə)n/

noun

the chemical breakdown of a substance by , yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.

the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, wine, and liquor, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol.

Beginner Tips for Fermenting

So, you have taken on the idea that fermented may be for you. You already know the , the categories of fermented , and how you want to use them. The problem is, that you may have some trouble finding all the that you want or at the very least finding them within your budget. If this sounds like you, you may have already looked into fermenting your own foods. Here are some beginner tips that can get you started on the right track.

Start with Kits

Kits are the best place to start if you are new to fermenting. There are several reasons for this. The first is that the kits will include everything you need to ferment the chosen food. The kits will introduce you to the different aspects and amounts used in the fermentation process. The second reason for starting with kits is because they are often cheaper than trying to buy each piece you will need for the fermentation process. You will also receive step-by-step instructions, and often coupons for further purchases, as well as recipes to try later.

fermented foods benefits

Stick with Foods You Eat Already

You may already be eating fermented foods that you love, like yogurt or pickles. If this is the case, try to stick with fermenting those foods yourself. The benefit of this is that you already know the flavors, textures, and methods you like of these foods. You know what you are looking for. You know what you like. If you are fermenting these foods yourself, you have the advantage of knowing what you want the end result to be.

If you are fermenting food that you are unsure of, you may not know if the end result is what you wanted or not and this can actually be a problem for knowing if you have the fermented food that will benefit you.

Have a Storage Area

Make sure that if you are starting to ferment your own foods, you have a proper storage area for these foods. Make sure that you know where you will be storing them, how to store them, and for how long you will store them before they are ready to consume. The last thing you want is to have the foods ready to go and find that you do not have the adequate space or area to support the fermenting process. Do some research on the best ways to store your fermented foods and the temperatures you will need to maintain.

By taking on these tips you can start on a path to fermenting your own foods. You can begin making them ahead, storing them, and starting your own fermented food pantry that you can pull foods from just like a grocery store. You can also stay well within your budget as well.

4 Fermented Foods for Beginners

When you start off with any diet routine or add foods to your diet routine, you may be cautious about what you add. You don’t want to have allergic reactions, but you also don’t want to have an issue with spending a lot of money on a food item that you actually don’t like. Before you waste money on kits, fermented foods you have never tried, or trying to jump into the fermentation of your own foods consider these fermented foods instead. These four foods are easy to find, easy to add to your diet, and have familiar flavors and textures that make them easier to add to your daily routine.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is probably the easiest food to find and to add to your diet as a beginner to fermented foods. You can add it to sandwiches like Reubens. You can also add it to hot dogs and sausage dishes. It is easy to add a little at a time and then add more later. You can find sauerkraut in jars, canned, and bags in most produce sections. You can also find the canned version in the canned vegetable sections of most stores.

Keep in mind, the jar style would be the most ideal and the canned would be the last resort. This is due to the fact that canned foods tend to contain other preservatives that may cause the benefits of the sauerkraut to suffer.

Yogurt

Yogurt is super easy for beginners to find, add to, and enjoy in their daily diet routines. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing a yogurt rather than making your own. Try to stick to a plain yogurt that you add your own fresh fruits. You do not want one that already contains fruit as there may be preservatives used for the fruits that could diminish the probiotic benefits of the yogurt. You also want to stick to regular yogurt and not greek yogurt as traditional yogurt does use a traditional fermentation process.

Kombucha

Kombucha is ideal if you are more into a drink form of fermented food or if you just need something that is easy to digest on the go. If you are a cold tea fan, then this may be ideal as well. Kombucha is made with tea, sugar, water, and yeast culture to add the probiotic. You can find kombucha at most stores that have healthy food or juice and smoothie sections. You can also find kombucha in a variety of flavors as well.

Miso

Miso can be found in powdered form in the Asian food section of most stores. You can also find block versions of miso or miso paste. This can be made into an easy-to-digest soup along with tofu and nori. If you are out and about and need to get some fermented foods into your diet during the day, consider eating at a sushi restaurant or hibachi as they will offer miso soup as well as other fermented foods. There are many more fermented foods that you can add to the mix over time.

These are just the more common foods you can find at most any store and add to your daily routine. Make sure when you are buying fermented foods or adding them to your diet that you are using a non-GMO labeled food product. This will cut down on chemicals and other preservatives that may detract from the natural benefits of fermentation

Common Fermented Foods

  • Kefir.
  • Sauerkraut.
  • Tempeh.
  • Natto.
  • Cheese.
  • Kombucha.
  • Miso.
  • Kimchi.
Common Fermented Foods

What to Look for When You Buy Fermented Foods

When you are buying fermented foods, you may think that this will be a piece of cake. One of the more common foods is sauerkraut and you already probably have gone in and grabbed a jar with no issue. The problem with this is when you realize that you can’t just grab and go. You need to make sure that what you are grabbing is fermented, has the benefits you need, and is not mislabeled as something that may not be what you need. Here are a few things to look for when you are buying fermented foods.

Labeling

The first thing you need to do is look at the labeling of the fermented food you are buying. The labeling is vastly important for one simple stamp. Look for the non-GMO label. You may not care if GMOs are in your foods, and that is fine. However, when you are talking about fermented foods GMOs can add chemicals and additives that can cause the fermentation to be hindered. You may not receive the same benefits as you would if the GMOs were not there.

So, check for a non-GMO or GMO-Free level. Also, make sure you are looking for a vegan-friendly label as this means that the way the foods were harvested and processed is natural as well.

Check the Ingredients

You can tell if you are going to get the proper benefits of a store-bought fermented food by checking the ingredients. Look for things that should not be there. Ideally, you should see the basic ingredients, vinegar, and salt. You should not see things like a high sugar count or fruits and vegetables that should not be there. For example, if you are buying a fermented apple product, you want to see apples, not a pear substitute.

Check the Packaging

Try to stay away from any kind of fermented product that is in a can. There are several reasons for this. The first is the tin-like taste that can seep into your food. The second is that you have no idea what other preservatives were used after the fermented product was added to the can. You also don’t find many GMO-free fermented items in canned foods. So, stick to jars or bags for your packaging.

These are only a few things to look for. However, by looking for these key points you will be able to ensure that you are getting a fermented food that actually has benefits and not just flavor. If you are totally unsure about what you are getting, stick to what you do know and research the rest for a later trip.

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