I have learned much about fermenting foods since I started a few years ago. In fact, there are foods, you probably eat regularly, that I didn’t even know were fermented—like chocolate! Who knew? If you find yourself asking, “What foods can I ferment?” read on for a great discussion on the types of foods you can ferment safely.
WHAT FOODS CAN I FERMENT?
CAN I FERMENT CABBAGE?
Think sauerkraut. Your run-of-the-mill green cabbage is not the only kind to add to your fermenting jar. There is red cabbage. In fact, when you add red cabbage to your mix, you end up with a pretty pink product. There is bok choy, Napa (or Chinese) cabbage, Savoy, and choy sum (similar to bok choy but longer and thinner). Different cabbages have varying nuances of flavor and texture. Try a variety.
CAN I FERMENT VEGETABLES?
After cabbage, vegetables are the most popular foods to ferment. Carrots are a popular choice. Fermenting cucumbers makes pickles. Ferment green beans and you have dilly beans. Broccoli, asparagus, squash, beets, zucchini, peppers, and sweet potato can all be fermented.
CAN I FERMENT FRUIT?
Because of the sugar content of fruit, it ferments faster and turns to alcohol. I made a fermented salad with oranges in it and it created a delightful fizz. But I had to keep my eyes on it, lest it goes too far. Mixing fruits with vegetables helps to lower the sugar content and thereby slow down the ferment. Apples, grapes, and oranges are found in many fermented recipes. Berries, especially cranberries, culture nicely.
CAN I FERMENT GRAINS?
I’m not prepared to enter the debate of whether we should or should not eat grains; or, if soaking, sprouting, or fermenting grains makes them more bio-available and nutritious. I’m just here to tell you that if you already feel confident in your decision to eat grains, feel free to ferment them. A good example of fermented grain is sourdough bread.
CAN I FERMENT DAIRY?
Fermented dairy products includeyogurt, cheese, and sour cream.
CAN I FERMENT BEVERAGES?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. Kefir is a fermented milk or water drink. Ferment beets in a solution of whey, salt, and water and you have beet kvass—a supertonic that builds the blood, aids in digestion, cleanses the liver, and more. Sprouting and fermenting wheat berries makes Rejuvelac. It is a yellowish, tart drink with a slight carbonation.
“What foods can I ferment?” you ask. Just about anything.
What did you ferment this month? I’d love for you to share with us in the comments.
If you are new to your fermentation journey, you need some fermentation equipment. Check out the Fermentools store for everything you need. Including the salt!