Feeling the fermentation FOMO? You don’t have to miss out. There are plenty of ways to start enjoying fermented flavours without having to double the size of your kitchen.
The names of fermented foods can be a bit unusual, we’ll admit. Jun, kombucha, sauerkraut and the like. But we’re exposed to all kinds of weird and wonderful foods each time we visit the supermarket, and it’s always fun to experiment. It might be time to try something new.
Why are fermented foods trending around the world? Well, they’re super healthy. And tasty, of course. But they also have historical roots around the world, such as Jun from the highlands of Tibet and Sauerkraut from eastern Europe. They’ve been trusted for centuries as healthy, refreshing accompaniments to heavier meals, and also as snacks and ingredients.
It’s likely you’ve already been eating fermented foods throughout your life. Many foods are involved in fermentation processes before they become edible - cheese, bread, wine, beer, tea and chocolate all go through different fermentation processes. But when we talk about ‘fermented foods’, it’s usually referring to those that preserve the good bacteria from the fermentation process which can be used by our bodies. They often include vegetables and are packed with loads of vitamins and minerals, too (it’s different from pickling, which relies on heat - fermentation involves no heat, so the good bacteria aren’t killed).
More and more people each year are realising the benefits of fermented foods, so now could be a good time to see how you can add more into your diet.
You can start small - really small, in fact. Here’s a few of our tips to liven up your diet with some healthy fermented fabulousness.
How to add fermented foods to your diet:
- Kefir - this yoghurt in a bottle is a supercharged breakfast drink. Available in fruity flavours or sometimes with a hint of honey, it’s like a milkshake with a subtle tangy aftertaste. They’re getting more popular and can be found on the refrigerated shelves of most supermarkets and convenience stores. They’re made with different bacterial cultures than normal yoghurt, and contain loads more probiotics. Kefir is also a great addition to a smoothie or bowl of muesli.
- Kimchi can be used as a topping for omelettes! Korea’s favourite fermented vegetable dish is a crunchy, refreshing and tangy dish that’s got a spicy zing to it - perfect to complement a protein-rich breakfast like omelettes. If you’re prone to dashing on the ketchup or hot sauce, give Kimchi a go - you might never go back.
- A cup of miso soup goes well with sandwiches and sushi, especially on a cold day. It’s made from fermented soybeans with salt and koji fungus. Great for balancing salt and minerals in your diet (however, as miso is served hot, it doesn’t have the complete range of lively probiotics as other fermented foods).
- Having a salad? Why not try swapping out your sugary dressing for a garnish of kimchi or sauerkraut juice? This tangy, flavoursome juice is drinkable on its own (a few shots in the morning will set your microbiome up well for the day) but is also an easy win for a lunchtime garden salad.
- Sauerkraut is one of the most versatile fermented foods out there. Based on cabbage, sea salt, and not much else, it’s well-known as an accompaniment to sausages, but you could put it alongside any carb-rich dinner, really. Here’s a start - for your next Taco Tuesday, why not try adding a few forkfuls? Pork, beef, chicken - it’ll work with every type. Make sure the sauerkraut stays as cold as possible to keep the beneficial bacteria alive.
- Tempeh is best known as a popular vegetarian ingredient, sometimes used as a meat substitute. It’s a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans, rich in probiotics. Often found near the tofu in supermarkets, you can buy it ready-made in blocks that can be cut up as you like. Try chopping it up and adding to salad, fajitas, toast or any rice-based dish. Again, it can be cooked, but too much heat runs the risk of damaging the bacterial goodness.
- They say vinegar has 1001 uses. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar each day may help keep the doctor away - and it tastes rather lovely, too.
- Ever opened the fridge late at night, only to find an empty shelf of disappointment? Us too. That’s why we recommend always having a jar of krautchi in there - stick a fork in and go wild. This crunchy, zesty, slightly salty veg dish is great for illicit snacking after dark. And it’s guilt-free, too.
- Well, this is the easiest part. Pop open a bottle and drink! Both kombucha and jun are fermented green tea-based wonder-drinks. They come in a range of flavours, and their slightly sweet, sparkling nature brings a refreshing fizz to your taste buds. High vitamins, enzymes and probiotics, they’re leagues above standard sugary drinks in both health and flavour.
That’s just a start. Once you’re a fan of fermentation, you’re a fan forever. Our online shop stocks the finest varieties of kimchi, sauerkraut, krautchi, kombucha, jun, apple cider vinegar, and more. All made right here in the UK. It’s the easiest way to boost your immune system, treat your gut health right, and simply enjoy your food that little bit more.