Discovering the Benefits of Fermented Foods at Home

Did you know that kefir is said to contain three times the amount of healthy probiotics than plain yogurt. Plus, homemade sauerkraut can help boost immunity and aid in digestion – how’s that for a hotdog condiment! Here at Hiyu we’ve been learning a lot about the health benefits of fermented foods lately and experimenting at home. But where does one begin? We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help get you started.

The process of fermenting foods has been around for thousands of years and traditionally used out of necessity to preserve foods. But it turns out that fermented foods have some incredible benefits to our health. They promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, boost immunity, offer a great source of protein and calcium, and more.

Step 1:

Kefir fermenting organic milk.

Kefir fermenting organic milk.

Begin with a culture starter. You may have heard of kombucha-enthusiasts talking about a SCOBY. This is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast used in the fermentation process to metabolize carbohydrates and promote the growth of cultured bacteria – the healthy kind. We’re big fans of kefir grains (they look a bit like clear cauliflower), plus, as they are a living culture they continue to grow as long as you feed them. They double in size about every two weeks. Natalie has already given away extra grains to five friends and is the self-proclaimed “kefir pusher of the North Shore” here at home in B.C.

Step 2:

Start experimenting. Fermenting foods is easier than it seems. Sometimes all it takes is kefir grains, milk and a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Or cabbage and salt for homemade sauerkraut. We love making milk kefir, yogurt and even kefir soda. There are a ton of recipes available online and through Pinterest.

For the advanced fermenting foodies, we love these tips from Kinfolk.

Step 3:

Kefir in smoothies and crepes.

Kefir in smoothies and crepes.

Incorporate these tasty fermented foods into your daily life for maximum health benefits. Natalie’s tips: “Usually I blend the kefir into a smoothie that the boys and I share for breakfast. Or I will substitute it for buttermilk in baking recipes like pancakes or even in crepes. I have also strained it and used the thickened product as a substitute for sour cream! I have always been a big believer in the benefits of healthy gut flora and bacteria, and we all seem to be doing really well with eating kefir regularly. I’ve been eyeing a kimchi recipe to try next…”

Have you tried fermenting foods at home? Tell us about it!