We’ve heard it in the news that consuming probiotics is good for our health. What you might not be aware of is that you can make delicious , naturally fermented foods at home that are full of healthy probiotics.
I recently made my first batches of fermented foods after I received Hayley Barisa Ryczek’s book, Fermented Foods at Every Meal: Nourish Your Family at Every Meal with Quick and Easy Recipes Using The Top 10 Live-Culture Foods.
Hayley begins the book by explaining the basics of fermentation. Good bacteria is essential for the human gut – it helps create a healthy balance in our digestive tract, as well as aides in the digestion process.
Hayley writes, “You can ferment almost any food as long as you have the right combination of microbes and nourishment, as well as a few supplies and ingredients on hand.”
The book is divided into chapters covering 10 different fermented foods, along with recipes that include those items. The following are the healthy and delicious foods that we learn how to ferment at home:
- Crème fraîche
- Dried Fruit Chutney
- Fermented Ketchup
- Fermented Ginger Orange Carrots
- Fermented Sweet Pickle Relish
- Sweet and Spicy Tomato Mango Salsa
The first recipe I tried was for crème fraîche. I was really surprised at how easy it was to make. A big plus was that I didn’t have to shop somewhere special for the ingredients – I bought them at Aldi. My container only held 2 cups, so I had to discard a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, but otherwise I followed the directions as stated and it turned out beautifully. (Can I say that about food? Or should I just tell you that it came out quite delicious?)
I used some of the crème fraîche to make Hayley’s recipe for Classic Chopped Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (shown below).
I am happy to be able to share the recipe for making Hayley’s crème fraîche with you so you can get a taste of what is in store when you get the book.
- 1 glass pint jar 9475 ml) with lid
- Mixing spoon
- Cheesecloth or cotton fabric square
- Rubber band or string
- 2 cups 475 ml heavy or whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons 28 ml cultured buttermilk or packaged starter
- Place the cream and buttermilk in a jar with a lid. Cover securely and shake for 15 seconds. Remove the lid and cover with the cheesecloth, securing with a rubber band or string. Set aside at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours until thickened similar to sour cream. (This time frame with vary depending on the cream and the temperature of your home.)
- Stir the thickened crème fraîche well. Replace the lid tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. It will become even thicker as it chills. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
***Crème fraîche is pretty easy to make, and that's a good thing, because it can be hard to find in the store. It's a bit nutty and buttery tasting, and it can be used as a substitute for mayonnaise, yogurt, or sour cream in your favorite dish. It can also be used sweetened and whipped. Or you can whip it up (unsweetened) until it separates into solid butter and liquid buttermilk (which is different from the cultured buttermilk used in this recipe).Although it is generally recommended to avoid the use of ultra-pasteurized dairy products for culturing, I have found through many test batches that ultra-pasteurized cream works as well as all other types of cream in making Crème Fraîche. If using a packaged crème fraîche starter, follow the instruction provided with the starter.*Recipe from Fermented Foods at Every Meal and reprinted with permission.
As I write this, I have a batch of homemade sauerkraut fermenting and it’s looking good. Other recipes that I want to try include Pineapple Kefir Sorbet, Kombucha Soda, Chicken Satay with Cilantro and Almond Butter Sauce (recipe made using Kombucha), Sweet and Spicy Tomato Mango Salsa, and Yogurt to name a few.
Look for Fermented Foods at Every Meal: Nourish Your Family at Every Meal with Quick and Easy Recipes Using The Top 10 Live-Culture Foods at your favorite bookstore or at Amazon.com. You can get more of Hayley’s recipes at her blog, Health Starts in the Kitchen.
See what I wrote about Without Grain, another one of Hayley’s delicious books, and get her recipe for Crispy Belgain Waffles:
Crispy Belgain Waffles from Without Grain