Loaded with essential nutrients and probiotics, fermented foods are an effective way to boost healthy gut bacteria, immune function and much more. Fermentation has been around for centuries, and it remains one of the best ways to keep fresh, crisp vegetables in our diet during the winter months. Although spring is right around the corner, these easy-to-make ferments can be made all year long to help reduce food waste and, hopefully, your household budget (bye-bye expensive supplements!).
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The exact origin of this fermented tea beverage is unknown, but it makes a great substitution for sugary sodas and juices. Although this ferment is made with sugar, the final product contains a minimal amount since the sugar becomes food for the live culture (SCOBY). At this time, little research has been conducted to prove the health benefits of kombucha, but many believe it has immune-boosting properties.
Try Our Recipe: Basic Kombucha
Research has shown that, when fermented, cabbage contains strains of antifungal compounds that fight vaginal and intestinal infections of Candida fungi. Other studies suggest that the probiotics found in sauerkraut may increase the effects of antioxidants, protect against breast cancer, and combat Salmonella and Shigella—harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Try Our Recipe: Simple Sauerkraut
Lactic-acid fermentation is the simplest way to preserve your excess garden harvest or farmers market produce. When fermented, vegetables retain their essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. After the fermentation process, these nutrients are actually enhanced, leaving you with the tasty, super-nutritious result.
Try Our Recipe: Fermented Veggie Condiments
Local, seasonal foods are always your best option, so why not preserve them now and savor them when fall and winter roll back around! Making your own fermented foods will guarantee their quality and allow you and your family to have access to fresh, nutritious vegetables throughout the year. If you really get into it, you’re likely to discover even more benefits of food preservation!