The benefits of fermented food are many. Clear skin. Improved digestion. An immune system that can slide through the cold season unscathed. But beyond a bottle of kombucha or a cup of yogurt, including fermented food in everyday life might feel intimidating. How can you fit them in?
As it turns out, some of the best fermented food comes in the form of drinks, salad dressings, condiments, snacks, and delicious desserts — making them an easy addition to your everyday meals.
Probiotic honey lemonade soda
Fermented drinks are an easy way to start incorporating more fermented food into your daily routine. Bubbly and often sweet, they easily replace unhealthy sugar-laden pop. Although there are many ways to make a fermented drinks — kombucha, water kefir, or ginger soda — this lemonade uses whey as its starter. This means that you don’t have to keep a culture going, as you would need to do with kefir grains. No matter the season, this fermented drink will keep you hydrated and healthy.
Water kefir consists of small jelly-like crystals that form the SCOBY (symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast) that metabolizes a simple water and sugar mixture to produce probiotics, enzymes, and even some B vitamins. After an initial ferment, water kefir can be flavored a myriad of ways. Add fruit (fresh, dried, or juiced), herbs, and extracts like vanilla.
Kefir ranch dressing
Salad dressings brighten your greens and using fermented food in dressings is a way to naturally hot those tart notes. You also avoid the dubious ingredients in store-bought salad dressings while adding an extra boost of probiotics. For this twist on a classic ranch dressing, kefir is mixed with mayonnaise and herbs like parsley, chives, and dill.
Enhance your classic oil-and-vinegar salad dressing by replacing the vinegar with kombucha. Tart but softer than vinegar, kombucha adds many beneficial bacteria to any salad. In this vinaigrette, dijon mustard helps emulsify the oil and vinegar while a bit of honey sweetens it.
Probiotic apple and beet relish
With hints of clove, apples lend a sweetness to this beet-based relish. The earthy beets and sweet apples — with a little sourness from the fermentation — pair perfectly with meat dishes. Because apples and beets winter well, this relish is a great way to get more vegetables in through the cold months.
Fermented Hot Chili Sauce
If spiciness is your gig, try this fermented hot chili sauce. The fermentation process creates a sauce that is flavorful and complex, rather than the store-bought vinegar-based sauces. With the addition of a little garlic and unrefined cane sugar, you just need a little of this fermented hot chili sauce to add a kick to any dish.
Strawberry yogurt bowl with pine nuts and mint
Yogurt is chock full of beneficial bacteria. Topping it with fruit and nuts is a quick and easy snack…or breakfast. Despite being simple, there is no need for it to be boring. This bowl adds mint and sweet spices for a lively twist to a snack that is both healthy and delicious.
Sourdough consists of bacteria and yeast that ‘pre-digest’ flour, breaking down the protein and stabilizing blood sugar levels, among other benefits. With a long ferment, time does the work so that active time on this sourdough is minimal. Top with any kind of spread or pesto or a sustaining snack during the day.
Yogurt panna-cotta with honey-roasted strawberries
Simple but nourishing ingredients combine to make a dessert that is light and mildly sweet. Yogurt provides probiotics; gelatin the structure and healing proteins; honey a tad of sweetness; strawberries fiber and vitamins; and vanilla adds that exotic touch and deep flavor. It mixes up quickly for a dessert that’s perfect to make ahead of time.
Fermented mixed berries
Berries and fruit only need a day or two to ferment, so this dessert is ready to eat quickly after making it. If blended after fermentation, the berries have a jam-like consistency and are the perfect probiotic sauce to add to ice cream, cakes, or smoothies.