I’m a huge fan of fermented foods so I was excited to learn that my friend Ryan Neveu wanted to share this blog post with us. Ryan truly embraces the benefits of fermented foods. He’s very passionate about gut health and he has developed a number of his own fermented food recipes. Make sure you check out the bottom of the post to get free access to his fermented food video series. – Elly xx

Sauerkraut, my good, tasty friend

Another leisurely lazy Sunday rolls around. I have my coffee and start cooking up a tasty breakfast of eggs, avocado and sourdough toast. The real star of the show however, is sitting in a dark corner of the pantry, amidst the other fermenting jars that I use for my fermented food recipes.

I grab my sauerkraut and give myself a generous helping. The colour is vibrant from the red cabbage I used. A tangy, delicious sourness and hints of earthy anise from the caraway seeds that I added. Tasty flavours on the tongue, good bacteria for the tum!

Something of an obscurity in the past, fermented foods such as sauerkraut and other fermented food recipes have been thrust into the limelight in recent years. I believe the recent rediscovery and renaissance in fermented food recipes is mostly due to a broader general interest in artisan food products and the recent interest in health and nutrition.

Fitness and nutrition has been my interest for many years. Fermented recipes are really the icing on the cake for me when it comes to a healthy, nourishing diet.

Fermented food recipes: DIY sauerkraut

Check out the video below to find out how to make your own sauerkraut at home!

Homemade probiotics

I am a huge advocate of fermented foods recipes. This is not only because of their interesting flavours and the satisfaction that comes with making them, but also their health benefits. When we ferment foods at home such as fermenting cabbage or lacto fermented pickles, we create an environment for millions of beneficial microorganisms that live in unison with us.

fermented food recipesThe thought that these tiny bugs are living in their trillions are living on, and in us is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl! But these little critters are vital for our survival. They perform a variety of tasks for us such as breaking down difficult to digest plant fibers. They also produce vitamins for us such as vitamin K, and keep out harmful pathogenic microorganisms.

Nutrients from real food

I’m not a huge fan of taking capsules; I prefer to get my nutrients from food. Don’t get me wrong, I do take a multivitamin to cover my bases. Apart from that my priorities are eating the full rainbow of colours of fruit and veg, and making sure I get good protein and healthy fats from sardines and nuts. Probiotic food to tops it off.

The market for probiotic capsules now is huge, mostly due to all of the emerging studies and data suggesting their many health benefits. But if we can get them from tasty easy to make food, shouldn’t this be the more obvious route?

As with anything, fermented food recipes are not for everybody. But if you have bad memories of sauerkraut when you were a kid, or if you’ve read a sensationalized story about a bad batch of kombucha on the internet, I would still encourage you to persevere. You see, there are so many different fermented food recipes. So you’re bound to find one you like, and they are well worth it for the health benefits. I’ll cover a couple in this post.

Metal juice anyone?

You may have already some of the more common fermented food recipes such as sauerkraut, or you may have bought it from the store. What a lot of people don’t realize however, is that store bought sauerkraut is often pasteurized. While we associate pasteurization with killing harmful bugs, it also kills the good ones. Not only is store bought sauerkraut neutralized of it’s good bacteria, but there are concerns that the acidity of the sauerkraut may cause metal leaching from the can it is stored in. Metal juice is not so good for us.

Even if you haven’t tried sauerkraut, chances are that you are already consuming some other fermented foods anyway. Did you know artisan chocolate, vinegar, coffee and cheese are fermented? Not to mention one of my favourites, beer!

Aside from the fermented food recipes that we all know such as the ones above, others have become more popular in recent times. I have always loved the flavours of Asia, but it wasn’t until I was lucky enough to travel to South Korea that I experienced the fiery, pungent delicacy that is known as kimchi.

So what else is there in this world of exotic taste sensations and fermented food recipes? Here are just a couple-

Kimchi, SAUERKRAUT’S fiery cousin

You may have tried sauerkraut, but have you tried kimchi? Kimchi is made a little differently to sauerkraut, but the kimchi fermentation process is essentially very similar with a few tweaks. Kimchi is a fermented vegetables recipe that has quite an impressive tradition surrounding it. Eaten with most meals in South Korea, it is a national staple.

The first time I tried it, I was visiting a friend in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The very first night, he said we were going to go out for Korean BBQ. I didn’t even know that Korean BBQ was a thing, but I was soon left wondering why it wasn’t more widely known about. We entered the Korean BBQ restaurant. It looked pretty normal apart from the foil tubes hanging down from the ceiling to each table! What were these weird tubes for? Is this how the food is dispensed onto your plate?!

The tubes were not to dispense food onto your plate!

All they are for is to extract smoke from the little BBQ rack that is inset into each table. Very cool idea. The food comes to your table all sliced up into thin strips and ready to go straight onto the hot BBQ. You get lettuce to wrap up your self cooked morsels and an array of condiments.

There it was, bright red and pungent smelling, the kimchi. My friend said I had to try it, so I wrapped my veges and put a slice of kimchi on. I took a bite and savoured the crunchy texture and pleasant sourness that I loved from sauerkraut. Then came the heat! One of the ways kimchi differs from sauerkraut is that it gets it’s red colour from the Korean chilli that is mixed into it. It also has garlic, ginger and other ingredients depending on who is making it and where it is made.

After this trip my interest was piqued. What other fermented food recipes were there out there for me to find on this culinary adventure?

Natto, love it or hate it?

One of my best friends and ex girlfriend is Japanese. The Japanese are famous for their meticulous craft skills and amazing food. On a trip to visit her family she showed me many tasty treats. Her mum would whip up amazing dinners with many different little dishes to pick and choose from.

Not one to stick with the standard fare, I wanted to try a fermented bean dish that I had heard of. The name of this condiment, is natto. Popular among the older generation as a breakfast food, natto comes in a little pack with some Japanese mustard and soy sauce. You stir in the sauces and what you end up with is a goopy, sticky consistency. Doesn’t sound too appetizing does it! Not one to pass up a new flavour opportunity though, I tried some.

It tasted a little cheesy. I thought it was good. Not too dissimilar from the taste and texture of the cheesy baked beans I used to love as a kid! I found out afterwards that natto is actually one of the highest sources of vitamin K there is. Vitamin K is important for bones and could be beneficial with those suffering from osteoporosis. Check out my vlog below to find out what I mean by ‘goopy’!

Free fermented foods video series

While natto may not be everybody’s cup of fermented tea, there are a whole host of other fermented food recipes that are well worth the time trying. I spend a lot of time spreading word of these fermented food recipes and showing people how to make all different kinds such as lacto fermented vegetables and kombucha.

Head over to my website and sign up, and I’ll send you a free video series showing you some simple and fermented food recipes. If your interest is really piqued, I have made a comprehensive e course on all things probiotics which has many fermented food recipes in it. You can find the course at my partner’s website. Just sign up there and click on the primal probiotics course. Happy fermenting!

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3 Comments

  • Debra

    Thanks for putting together a wealth of info on fermented foods. Awesome.

    • Elly McGuinness

      You’re welcome Debra. Make sure you grab Ryan’s free video series if you’re interested in learning more:)

    • Ryan

      No worries Debra, more to come

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