The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I am so excited to see more and more fermented products find their way to the grocery store shelves. It’s great that we can now pick up a jar of fermented cucumbers instead of just your average pickle. Pickled products are not the same as fermented products. They don’t have the same probiotics since they haven’t been lacto-fermented.

Lacto-fermentation is the process that produces traditional sauerkraut and pickles. It’s the original and better way. All that is needed is water, salt, and almost any vegetable you like. Use herbs and seasonings that you love too for added flavor. The salt will kill any bad bacteria and the good bacteria will be left to make your gut a healthy, happy place. When your gut is healthy your immune system and mental health will follow.

I’m seeing more and more fermented products available in both the grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Yay! But the prices… oh my Boo!

My son was at Wholefoods today and came home with a jar of fermented garlic cucumbers. Let me make this clear, they were delicious! And since my fermented cucumbers were a bit mushy – I’m still working towards a crisp, crunchy version – I get why he bought them.

But $8 for 8 medium-sized cucumbers? Seriously? Now that’s some ugly right there.

There’s no need to go broke buying fermented foods. Especially when it takes no special equipment to make your own. Believe me when I tell you, you can do it. You can even make long-fermented sourdough bread that many gluten-intolerant people can enjoy along with you.

My fermented-cucumbers may not have been as crunchy as we like them but they are still edible and the next try I know they will be better. When it comes to fermenting, practice does make perfect and that’s a good thing. Learning what works gives me the confidence to try fermenting something new and different. The bottom shelf in my pantry is starting to fill up with all different fermented fruits, vegetables, and drinks. I’m testing a hibiscus and ginger kombucha, honey-fermented blueberries, and sugar-fermented lemons. And just today I fermented a gallon-sized jar full of cabbage to make garlic and dill sauerkraut for sandwiches and hamburgers.

When it comes to fermenting the sky’s the limit. Use your imagination and you may just come up with the next kimchi or kefir. Your gut will thank you!

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