Properly fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics, something most of us need more of in our diet. Fermented foods have been used for ages, and it’s time to reintr
oduce this age-old practiceinto every kitchen.
Everyone can get started with fermented foods. Many ferments like sauerkraut and pickles can be made with nothing more than vegetables, filtered water and pure sea salt. Or you can get fancy and add a starter. Other ferments, like Kombucha and Kefir, take more supplies – but it’s worth it.
outline 5 fermented foods that most kids love. I hope you’ll try at least one of them!
Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea beverage that is full of healthful nutrients and beneficial bacteria. I first started buying a brand at our local grocery store, and after I realized that the girls and I really enjoyed it, I started brewing kombucha at home. It saves us so much money and is convenient because we always have some on hand. I typically flavor it with strawberries or other berries and the girls drink it down. My younger daughter even has her own kombucha dance because she loves it so much!
Milk or Water Kefir
If your family drinks a lot of soda, then water kefir may be a good option for you. Water kefir is made by fermenting sugar water with water kefir grains (letting it sit on your counter), and you can flavor it any way you like. My girls like it flavored with lemon juice – it makes a nice, healthy lemonade. You can also make milk kefir. We haven’t made milk kefir before, but it’s great way to add natural probiotics to smoothies.
The pickles you find at the grocery store are most often pickled in vinegar, and not made through the traditional lacto-fermented method. Unfortunately, most store-bought pickles also have artificial colors and other questionable ingredients added to them. If made correctly, fermented pickles are both delicious and healthful! If your family already enjoys eating pickles, try making your own. It’s a fun project to do with your kids!
Making my own lacto-fermented ketchup is next on my list (since we just bought a case of organic ketchup). It seems very simple to make fermented ketchup, and I like that it’s not full of a ton of sugar. Most of the ketchup you get at the store has high fructose corn syrup or sugar made from GMO sugar beets in it. Making my own seems like a great alternative, and I know my younger daughter will love it!
Carrots with Ginger
My kids love ginger. My older daughter loves fermented ginger all on its own, but not all kids will go straight for pickled ginger. Since carrots are naturally sweet, they are a gentler entry into fermented foods for kids. Fermenting carrots with ginger is a nice combination, and a fun activity to do with your kids. I have found my girls are always more willing to try new things if they helped to prepare them!
While these 5 fermented foods and beverages are a good starting point for kids (and adults), you really can ferment just about anything. Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation are two books I always recommend when you are first getting started with fermented foods.
Have you tried fermented foods with your kids? What are their favorites?