Nourishing Traditions Book Review

At Fermentools, we want you to have the best knowledge about fermenting foods as possible. That is why we like to share different resources with you. I hope you enjoy this review of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Nourishing Traditions is half a cook book, and half informative nutrition that is likely the opposite of what you’ve heard from any conventional nutritionist. Sally Fallon writes with a simple, and different, understanding of health–just as you cannot build a sound house with rotted wood, so you cannot build a healthy body when feeding it nutritionally barren foods. There is a strong emphasis on the nutritive value of different foods and preparations and the high value of fats and other nutrient dense foods. For me, however, the most fascinating part of this book is the informative side bars, particularly around the various fermented foods.

While cooking in general is a strong focus of this book, there is a wide variety of different ferments covered as well. From classic fruit ferments, to sauerkraut and kombucha, and several things in between, Nourishing Traditions has some fermented foods for every taste.

Book Reviews

One of my favorite informative parts of Nourishing Traditions is the historical aspects of fermentation. Historical marmalade is a perfect example. Today, marmalade is a sugared, heat treated, and basically non-nutritive spread. But, that was not the case historically. Oranges were grown in southern Spain, but shipping them by sea was not always an efficient trip. As a result, instead of packing them in crates or boxes as fresh oranges, they were packed in barrels with layers and layers of salt. As a result, when the orange barrels reached England after months of sea travel, they were a salty, sour, and naturally fermented marmalade!

Marmalade is just one of the fascinating foods, which was historically fermented and now is not, that Nourishing Traditions covers. Many of the ferments have sidebars talking about studies, and other observations, of the health impact of the food, and the powerful impact natural ferments can have on your health.

Another interesting angle is the instructions for preparing grains, pulses, beans and bread, all of which involve some form of fermentation or soaking. With the grains and seeds, the pre-fermenting breaks down indigestible parts, particularly phytates which can block mineral absorption in the gut, and increase digestibility, flavor, and general nutritive value. Several recipes offer an addition of more non-mainstream grains, like spelt and buckwheat instead of wheat, to provide more nutritional value from your food.

One of the recipes I would like to try is the “Yogurt Dough” recipe, as an alternative for pie and tart shells. The recipe includes yogurt, which will add lacto-fermentation during the overnight resting period, and make the resulting tart shell similar to a well-fermented sourdough.

Whether you want a savory dish, or a sweet and nutritive dessert, you can find a recipe, and fascinating anecdotes about it, in Nourishing Traditions. There are recipes catering to nearly all needs, including healthy snack and finger food options, desserts, breads, main dishes, side dishes, and even drinks. One fun thing about the drink recipes is that many of them are fermented, too.

While most of the recipes in Nourishing Traditions require some level of pre-planning, soaking, and extra preparation time. The resulting healthy and nutritive food is well worth that bit of extra effort. While the fermented veggies, grains, legumes, and drinks, are some examples of useful recipes and fun foods, there is way more within this cookbook than can be listed. If I had to choose one all-purpose cookbook to have on-hand, I would go with Nourishing Traditions. You learn something new every time you open it, cook with it, or just browse for new food ideas.


If you are new to fermenting foods, Fermentools has everything you need to get you started. With our starter kit, and all of the great articles on this website, you will surely succeed in adding fermented foods to your daily regimen.


Sarah Dalziel of Wearing Woad

Sarah Dalziel is passionate about DiY skills, knowledge, and self-sufficiency. She was homeschooled K-BSc, and enjoys questioning, researching, and writing about hands on skills and preparedness. Ethnobotany, natural dyes, and self-sufficiency fascinate her. If she isn’t writing about them, you’ll find her dipping yarn into a steaming dye pot, or stirring up a batch of woad pigmented soap. Sarah blogs at, a natural dye and fiber skills blog, and also at, an interdisciplinary skills and writing blog.

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