All About Fermented Foods

Fermentation is the metabolic process of converting sugars in the food to acids, gases or alcohol. In addition to popular fermented vegetables, beer and wine are fermented, as are yogurts and cheeses. People all over the world have been fermenting foods for centuries. In addition to changing the taste of common vegetables, fermentation was used to improve the shelf-life of the veggies, while preserving them, especially during times when food was scarce. The Germans turned cabbage to sauerkraut, while the Koreans turned it to kimchi. Fermented cucumbers make up the wide range of pickles that people across the globe enjoy. Cooking schools are sure to keep up with new ways to cook with various fermented foods.

Benefits of fermented foods

  • According to Food Matters, approximately 70 percent of your immune system is determined by the state of your gut. Fermented foods have a high concentration of probiotics, which improve bowel health and aid in digestion.
  • These probiotics help your body produce digestive enzymes, helping you absorb more of the nutrients in your diet.
  • Vegetables are easy and cheap to ferment, and since the process increases the shelf life of your vegetables, you’ll be throwing less food away.

Dishes to make with fermented foods


  • Try making a sausage schnitzel with your sauerkraut. Different from a bratwurst, the sausage is butterflied, breaded and served on a pretzel roll with sauerkraut and homemade mustard sauce.
  • A reuben is a deli classic made with a mix of corned beef and pastrami piled high on rye bread, topped with Russian dressing, Jarlsburg and Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.
  • What sounds better on a cold winter day than sauerkraut and bean soup? Made with a mixture of chicken, pork and speck, with sauerkraut and kidney beans, this hearty soup will warm up everyone in the family.


  • Kimchi definitely has a bite to it, so use it to spice up your grilled cheese sandwich. Just be sure to drain and pat the kimchi dry so it doesn’t make your bread soggy.
  • Most pizza places don’t have kimchi as topping option and it’s too bad, because everyone should have access to kimchi pizza. If you’re feeling ambitious, make your own dough and sauce.
  • Puree some kimchi mixed with butter and honey, slather it on some corn on the cob and grill it. You wouldn’t think all of these flavors would combine well, but they really do complement each other.


  • If you like Greek food, this greek salad will be right up your alley. If you use fermented beets instead of fresh, it’ll be a probiotic double whammy.
  • A banana cake made with yogurt is a great way to snack on something that’ll satiate your sweet tooth without being too unhealthy. It’s light, but filling and a great way to bake with banana if you’re tired of banana bread.
  • A list of recipes using yogurt wouldn’t be complete without a healthy shake alternative. While this one is made with cherries, pomegranate juice, pineapple and banana, feel free to make it with your own favorite fruits.
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