Fermenting For Dummies
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If fermented foods didn't taste good, they wouldn't have remained as popular or as widely used as they have for centuries and centuries. Overall, fermented foods can provide your meals with additional texture and crunch and loads of extra and often unique flavor.

You can ferment a variety of foods, which means you can get an exceptional range of health benefits from pretty much all the food groups. These are just an added bonus to your daily diet.

The fact that you can be your own food processor, enhancer, flavorer, and preserver of your food without a factory, chemicals, preservatives, or other unnatural things makes fermenting easy and extra special. All you need is some basic equipment; you can be as low maintenance as just a few items or get yourself stocked with a few extra things.

Different times of year call for different methods of food preservation and, even more important, call for different foods. Many fruits and veggies either aren't available or don't taste very good at certain times of year, which is your indication to let them rest and wait until they're in their prime.

If you stick with the seasons, you're doing yourself a service, and the fermentation process will also work to your advantage. Fruits and vegetables especially are at their best when their nutrients are just bursting, and this comes from being in season, organic, and harvested locally.

There are many beliefs and recommendations about how many fermented foods you should eat. Some people say to eat them many times a day, and others a few times a week.

Of course, if you're a novice, you may not even be making fermented foods yourself but rather buying a local kombucha or sauerkraut or enjoying the odd bowl of miso soup — and for you, perhaps this is enough. But making your own fermented foods allows you to have control over your food from beginning to end. Also, the closer the fermented food is to home, the more powerful and beneficial it is to your body.

As you start to expand and try more fermented foods, you actually begin to crave them (in a good way) and want to include them in most meals throughout the day. So here are some general guidelines to enjoy them:

  • You get the most benefit if you include fermented foods in most of your meals throughout the week, if not every day and sometimes even every meal.

  • When it comes to beverages like kefir, kvass, and kombucha, a few sips to a half cup is enough.

  • A few tablespoons of fermented fruits or vegetables, like sauerkraut, are easy to get in daily.

  • Condiments, dips, spreads, breads, grains, and beans may make up most of your meals during the day. You'll have to gauge for yourself how much to consume, but just know that although a little bit goes a long way, the more the better. So do whatever it takes to make fermented foods part of your meal planning.

If fermented foods are completely new to your system, you may experience mild to moderate symptoms, which are completely natural and healthy for your body. These symptoms can include gas, breakouts, headaches, and more.

Just note that you have to give your body time to adjust and adapt. Nothing wrong is happening; in fact, only good things are happening. Your body is getting rid of toxins that need to be released. This is good, because the fermented foods are replacing those toxins with beneficial, life-enhancing organisms that will ultimately make you feel and look great!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Marni Wasserman is passionate about real food. She inspires people to eat well and live well everyday. She shares many of her recipes and tips at www.marniwasserman.com. Amy Jeanroy is passionate about healthy, homemade foods and has been making and eating fermented food for 20 years. She shares daily recipes on her site, www.thefarmingwife.com.

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