Recipe: Introduction to Fermented Foods

Last updated: October 12, 2020, at 12:09 p.m. PT

Originally published: October 12, 2020, at 12:09 p.m. PT

fermented foods

Fermentation is a chemical process in which carbohydrates like sugar or starch turn into alcohol or acid. Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria! By consuming them, you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system, and enhancing your immune system. Here are some great fermented food recipes to get you started!


HOT & SOUR JALAPENO GARLIC KRAUT

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds red cabbage
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 jalapenos, stems & seeds removed, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (non-iodized)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove any damaged exterior leaves.
  • Remove one whole leaf and set aside.
  • Cut in half and remove the core and slice into very thin strips.
  • Place in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients.
  • Use hands to massage the salt into the cabbage until softened and juices begin to release. 
  • Set aside for 20 minutes, squeeze again, and transfer to an airtight quart-sized glass jar. 
  • Pack it tightly into the jar and use a pestle or wooden spoon to release enough juices to cover the cabbage completely. 
  • Place your reserved cabbage leaf over the chopped cabbage and press down to submerge. 
  • Place a clean glass weight on top of the cabbage and press down to ensure all cabbage is covered with liquid. 
  • Seal the jar and set aside out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 2-4 weeks or until fermented to your liking. 
  • When done, transfer to the fridge where it will keep for 6-12 months. 

TIPS

  • Wear food gloves to protect your hands (and eyes!) from the jalapenos. 
  • You can sterilize your jar and weights in boiling water for a few minutes or without detergent in your dishwasher. 

GROW YOUR OWN KOMBUCHA SCOBY

A SCOBY, which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast,” is an ingredient used in the fermentation and production of kombucha. Here's how to make your own!

INGREDIENTS/EQUIPMENT

  • 7 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 bags black tea
  • 1 cup store-bought plain kombucha
  • 2 quart (or larger) wide-mouth glass jar
  • 2 tea towels
  • Rubber band

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and stir in sugar to dissolve.
  • Add tea bags and steep until cooled to room temperature. Discard tea bags.
  • Combine the tea and store bought kombucha in a 2 quart glass jar.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band.
  • Place out of direct sunlight at room temperature and leave undisturbed for 1-4 weeks. 
  • Watch for bubbles forming on the surface first. 
  • Next, bubbles will create a thin film on the surface of the tea.
  • The thin film will continue to thicken and become opaque.
  • Once the SCOBY is ¼ inch thick, it can be used to brew kombucha. 

TIPS

  • Be sure to not bump, jostle, stir or otherwise disturb your tea while growing your SCOBY.
  • The tea used to grow your SCOBY is too strong to drink but can be used as starter for your first batch of Kombucha. 
  • If you are not using your SCOBY to brew, store in the fridge, submerged in kombucha tea until ready to use. 

KOMBUCHA

INGREDIENTS/EQUIPMENT

  • 14 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 bags black tea
  • 2 cups starter tea (reserved from last batch OR store-bought kombucha)
  • 1 SCOBY
  • 2 cups fruit juice (pineapple, mango, pear)
  • 1-gallon wide mouth glass jar
  • 2 tea towels
  • 1 rubber band
  • 6 (16 oz.) glass bottles (with plastic lids, swing top bottles, etc.)
  • Funnel

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and stir in sugar to dissolve. 
  • Add tea bags and steep until cooled to room temperature. Discard tea bags.
  • Transfer to gallon jar and add starter tea.
  • Add SCOBY gently to mixture. 
  • Cover with folded kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band.
  • Ferment for 7-10 days at room temperature, out of direct sunlight undisturbed. 
  • Begin tasting after 7 days. It is ready for bottling when it has reached the desired tartness.
  • Remove the SCOBY and 2 cups to use as starter tea in your next batch.
  • Using a funnel, pour about 1/3 cup of fruit juice into each glass bottle. 
  • Add kombucha to fill bottles, leaving about an inch of head room in each bottle. 
  • Seal bottles and store at room temperature to carbonate for 3-7 days.
  • Once fizzy to your liking, transfer to fridge. 

TIPS

  • Your SCOBY will thicken with every fermentation. 
  • If you are not using your SCOBY to brew, store in the fridge, submerged in kombucha tea until ready to use. 
  • Until you are comfortable with how long the carbonation takes, store bottles in a deep dish or bin to avoid any mess from over-carbonation. 

YOGURT

INGREDIENTS/EQUIPMENT

  • ½ gallon milk 
  • ½ cup store-bought plain yogurt with live active cultures
  • Large Stockpot with lid
  • Spatula
  • Food thermometer (instant read or candy thermometer)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat milk in stockpot over medium heat – do not boil.
  • Using thermometer, heat milk to 200 degrees F, stirring gently while it heats to avoid burning the bottom of the pan. 
  • Remove from heat and allow the milk to cool until warm between 112-115 degrees F.
  • Ladle about a cup of warm milk into a medium bowl and add the store-bought yogurt, whisking until smooth. 
  • Pour the yogurt mixture into the rest of the warm milk, whisking gently. 
  • Cover with the lid and transfer the pot to the cold oven. Insulate the pot with kitchen towels. DO NOT turn oven on. 
  • Turn on the light in the oven (again, DO NOT turn the oven on) and let sit for 4-12 hours.
  • The longer your yogurt sits, the thicker and tangier it will become. 
  • Avoid jostling the pot when checking the yogurt. 
  • Transfer to storage containers and refrigerate.

TIPS

  • Yogurt will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. 
  • Reserve ½ cup of homemade yogurt to use in your next batch. 
Category: Recipes