8 Fermented Foods to Try

Here are the top fermented foods to try at home! These kitchen experiments are fun and delicious, from sourdough to sauerkraut.

Fermented foods

Welcome to fermentation 101! Fermented foods are the latest health trend: and for good reason. Many contain live probiotics, live micro-organisms that are good for gut health and digestion. Fermented foods are also fun for another reason: they’re a fun kitchen DIY project! Watching fermentation happen is like a science project: it’s a process that preserves food that’s been around for centuries.

What is fermentation? It’s a process where microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down food ingredients into other products, giving them a unique taste, aroma and texture. Fermentation is used to make beverages like wine and beer and foods like yogurt and sauerkraut.

Want to try it for yourself? Here are our top fermented foods to try at home! Some are are better for your health than others, because they have more live probiotics. But all of them are fun kitchen DIYs to experience the magic of the process.

And now…our top fermented foods to try!

Other fermented foods? Make sure to try kimchi, spicy Korean fermented cabbage, and kefir, a fermented milk drink.

Fermented foods nutrition

Fermented foods can give your body a dose of healthy probiotics, which are live microorganisms crucial to healthy digestion, says Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. So eating sauerkraut can contribute to better gut health!

According to Healthline, fermented foods have also been associated with several other positive health effects, including stronger immunity and increased availability of nutrients after digestion.

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How to make sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Homemade sauerkraut is easier than you think! You’ll get probiotic benefits and a kitchen DIY project. Here’s how to make sauerkraut: a simplified guide.


Scale

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-small head green cabbage (about 3 pounds), at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon per pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

Tools


Instructions

  1. Shred the cabbage. Place it in a large bowl and mix in the salt.
  2. Get your hands ready! Here’s the fun part: Massage the cabbage with your hands for 8 to 10 minutes until cabbage is limp and large amount of liquid is released (the liquid will be used in the jar during fermenting). The fermenting doesn’t change the texture of the cabbage, so you’ll need to massage until it’s the texture of sauerkraut. Take a break if your hands tire out! You’ll be amazed at how a huge bowl of cabbage turns into just a few cups of sauerkraut.
  3. Stir in the caraway seeds. Then place the seasoned cabbage into a 1-quart mason jar, tamping down the cabbage to stuff it in (we use our cocktail muddler for tamping, but you can also use a wooden spoon). Leave the liquid in the bowl for now.
  4. Pour the liquid released from cabbage into the jar. Top it with the helix weight and the fermentation lid: this holds down the cabbage during fermentation to make sure it stays submerged. Alternatively, you can weigh down the cabbage with a fermentation stone and use a rubber band to secure cheesecloth over the lid to allow airflow.
  5. Place the jar in a dark, room temperature space for 6 to 12 days. Start tasting the sauerkraut on Day 6. Once you achieve a “sour” taste that you enjoy, move the jar to the refrigerator, where it keeps for several months. (We find ours is good around Day 7.) Note: If you notice mold on top of the sauerkraut, scrape it off and keep enjoying the rest of the jar! Make sure all of the cabbage is submerged to avoid the mold.

  • Category: DIY
  • Method: Fermented
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: Fermented Foods

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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