Fermented foods have a range of wellness benefits – from boosting the immune system and improving gut health to easing insomnia. On the culinary side, they add a lovely zing and depth to drinks and meals.
The below list offers easy ways to include more fermented foods into your diet!
Kombucha is a flavourful drink that has amazing health benefits. It is made by fermenting tea with a bacteria substance known as a scoby. This drink is widely available in most delis and health stores and comes in many different flavours. Drink one daily as an effective energy drink and natural probiotic. There are many local brands available such as Brew Kombucha – give it a try!
Kefir may sound very exotic but it is simply cultured milk, made by using kefir grains. The list of kefir health benefits is endless; it boosts immunity, is rich in enzymes to help better digest food and it’s a complete protein (making it great for low-carb diets).
Kefir grains are available on many online platforms as well as local health stores. You make kefir by soaking the grains in full cream milk for 24 – 48 hours. Once it has formed (fermented), strain out the grains and flavour to your liking. My favourite is to add in mixed berries and raw honey with chia seeds. The kefir can be stored in jars in the fridge for daily consumption.
Pickling is probably the most common form of fermentation. Almost all vegetables can be pickled, my favourite being the pickled cucumber. My mother has been pickling cucumbers ever since I can remember; the smell of boiling brine solution always brings back fond memories. Pickling is a fantastic way to extend the shelf life of vegetables by submerging them in a vinegar / brine mixture often flavoured with a mix of herbs and spices. They can add that perfect zing to any salad, sandwich or as a condiment to a dish.
4. Fermented chilli
I love hot chilli sauces and the best ones on the shelves are fermented first, which increases the natural flavour of the chillies, as well as helping preserve the sauce. Most store-bought chilli sauces are filled with thickeners, stabilisers, flavourings and other funny stuff. Learning how to ferment chillies is a great way to start making your own sauces at home. As long as you keep your sauces in airtight glass jars they will keep for a long time, and the flavour of your sauces will also mature.
If you haven’t tried kimchi then you haven’t lived. It is traditionally served as a Korean side dish, but I have found ways to incorporate it into some of my favourite meals. It is a vegetable dish that usually consists of cabbage, carrots, Napa or cucumber. I add my kimchi to mayonnaise which works very well with seafood dishes or chop it up finely and add it to a salad dressing. There are many easy kimchi recipes online but if you can find the real stuff from a Korean deli then go for it.
Read more: 6 fermented food terms you should know for 2016.