Living Foods / Fermented Foods (Healthy Probiotic Salsa!)

May 1, 2009 · 18 comments

probiotic salsa

Talk about a useful post, Kimi has nailed it with this comparison of vegetable fermentation methods.  I’ll bet I lost some of you right there.  If you’re like I was for most of my adult life, you’re thinking something like this right now:  “Vegetable fermentation methods…?  What planet is this chick from?!”

Here’s the simple explanation:  eating fermented vegetables increases the nutrient content and turns them into a superfood.   Naturally fermented, living foods are full of healthy probiotics, which then fill your gut, meaning your intestines, with good bacteria that fight off the bad guys and help build up your immune system!

The problem is, I haven’t gotten it down yet.  This post gave me great hope that someday I may chip away at this and get the fermenting thing figured out.  I know now what I may have done wrong in the past, just from reading through Kimi’s post.

Thus far I have these fermented foods down pretty well:

But these ones I have tried and bombed miserably:

  • Pineapple chutney – I did find out later, though, that I was not serving this correctly.  Apparently you need to eat it in very small portions – just a little bit with each bite of whatever food it goes well with. So maybe I did it right, but it just tasted overpowering because I was eating it like a side dish.
  • Pickles – this was a huge disappointment, because the fam loves dill pickles!  Also, I bought this “Perfect Pickler” doo-hickey and thought we were going to have success for sure… WRONG – the taste was all off and they were slimy.
  • Salsa – this ended up with mold on top, which I found out later I could’ve just scraped that layer off then still eaten it…but can you imagine how that would go over with the kids if they saw that?  They’d never trust anything I fed them again!

probiotic salsaThankfully, as I go through the experimentation process, I can at least just order my probiotic salsas and also some salad dressings and relishes online, too.

You read it right…salsa AND a probiotic!

While the taste took my immature palate a little getting used to, it does have a very fresh taste and the mild salsa was great on the burritos I made the other day (I’ll post the recipe soon).  It was such a good feeling knowing what a super-charged nutritional punch we were getting with it.

I’d love to hear what all of you think of the unique flavor of fermented foods.  Did you have to get used to it, or have you always liked them?

photo: sweetpotato

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  • { 16 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Amy May 1, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Did you make the salsa the same way as the lemonade – with whey and let sit?

    Amy

    Reply

    2 Kelly May 1, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Amy,
    It’s been a while, but yes, I think that’s how I did it.

    Reply

    3 Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet May 1, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for the sweet link, Kelly! :-) I’ve done a lot of things wrong too in the process of learning how to lacto-ferment and I am sure I will still do a lot more! So you didn’t like the perfect pickler, huh? I’ve never tried it myself, but I was wondering if anyone else had!

    Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

    Reply

    4 Catherine May 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I love naturally fermented sauerkraut with caraway seeds from the NT cookbook. My eldest daughter really loves it too. I was feeding my kids Bubbies natural pickles but they are very spicy and very salty. The pickles are eaten great with grassfed burgers.

    I have tried making my own pickles but was actually scared to eat them. This was 5 years ago when I had tried to make a batch of kraut and it went moldy on me.

    5 years ago when I was pregnant I made the pineapple chutney and liked it a lot. Sally Fallon wrote in NT that pineapple shortens labour so I was eating lots of it.

    Catherine

    Reply

    5 Kelly May 1, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Kimi,

    The Pickler didn’t make a difference in how they came out – we still didn’t like the pickles! Also, I melted the jug in the dishwasher TWICE (well, Kent did it once) – yes, they told us not to put it in there, but we forgot…

    It’s just sad that our palate’s are so messed up by eating commercial pickles our whole lives, that we don’t like the taste of a fermented pickle. If I could just get the flavoring right, and get them to not be so mushy, I’d at least be closer! We tried grape leaves to crisp them up, but it didn’t work for us.

    Catherine, I’d like to try sauerkraut – my brother made a really good batch and said it was very easy.

    Reply

    6 Rosy May 1, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I made water kefir soda, and was suprised it was so sweet. I only used 1/8 cup of sugar 1 tsp molassus, and 2 quarts water. I added a little vanilla, as per the recipie in Eat Fat Loss Fat. It was pretty darn yummy! I got a tummy ache so I think it was killin’ some buggers in my belly, so slow go for now.

    I have made my first batch of counter top yogurt. It tasted cheesey, oh well I bet it makes some sweet cream cheese! I will just have to get anouther culter…twist my arm right…

    My next adventure is going to be pickles. My Granny used to make some killer pickels, she made spicy ones, and dills. I want to try the sweet pickles in Eat Fat Loss Fat too. Now I just have to pick one to try.

    Reply

    7 FoodRenegade May 1, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    We really enjoy all the fermented dairy I’ve made — yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, kefir. And we LOVE kombucha & the fermented lemonade. My family also enjoys the lacto-fermented mayo & ketchup I make, and the dill pickle relish, and the raisin chutney. But for the more obviously sour, cabbage-based ferments like sauerkraut and cortido, we can only eat a spoonful or so at a time. We just can’t slather my sauerkraut on a reuben. I’m not sure if I’m doing anything wrong, if it needs to ferment longer, or whatever. But it’s really missing something.

    Thanks for participating in Fight Back Fridays today!!

    Cheers,
    KristenM
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    FoodRenegade

    Reply

    8 Julie May 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I’m a huge water kefir fan and most days it’s my main source of probiotics (although I do love fermented green beans too!).

    One thing to keep in mind with water kefir is that the sweetness of the finished brew does not indicate a high amount of remaining sugar. When using healthy water kefir grains, the remaining sugar should be approximately 20% of the sugar you started with and the remaining sugar will be mostly fructose (a mono-saccharide, aka a single sugar) which is much more digestible than the glucose and fructose combination (a disacchride, aka two simple sugars) you started with.

    For the long term health of the kefir grains, it is important to use a sugar water solution containing at least 3% and no more than 10% sugar (I usually recommend 1/2 c. sugar for 2 quarts water). Less sugar will starve the grains over time and cause them to work less efficiently and eventually stop working all together.

    Julie

    Reply

    9 Catherine, In S.E. Mi May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been making the ferments in NT and from the DiscussingNT list on Yahoo.
    So far I do not like the pickled turnips, or the pinapple vinegar. I love the kraut from NT with the caraway. I came up with my own salsa recipe which I shared with the DNT group and have made one of the pickled cuke recipes out of the group recipe file. I found a good pickling spice from The Atlantic Spice Co. which I can purchase locally. It has juniper berries in it which help with the crisp factor. Strangely, I have found that the pickles tend to get crisper the longer they refrigerate. Also… I use the same pickle recipe to make dilled green beans by skipping the jalepenos and adding a crushed cinnamon stick. This, is a crowd pleaser! Especially with the pre-school children I work with.

    Reply

    10 Rosy May 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Julie,

    Thanks for the info about the grains. Will letting it do a second ferment with out the grains help the sweetness, or should I just add some lemon or lime juice to it….Maybe pomagranate…mmmmm. I might just do that.

    Reply

    11 Local Nourishment May 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    We’ve made many of the chutneys and relishes from NT now. We call them collectively “Mom’s Jars.” At dinnertime, some child will be assigned to bring Mom’s Jars to the table and the various ferments will be passed around. When we go out to eat, we are sure to bring along papaya tablets to ease the inevitable indigestion. My youngest says, “Mom, when we eat out, can we bring along just one of your jars so I don’t get a stomach ache?”

    Our favorites are pineapple chutney, mint chutney, raisin chutney, tomato and pepper relish and pickled red peppers. I drink kombucha tea (which the kids insist is nothing more than apple cider vinegar mixed with sparkling water) and coconut kefir, but can’t convince anyone else of their deliciousness. It’s definitely an acquired taste if you’re not used to tangy.

    Local Nourishment

    Reply

    12 Kathy May 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I won’t blog again about how much I love fermenting!! I have made many of the recipes in NT. Some I like more than others but I have eaten or drank/drunk? them all. I just bottled another batch of kombucca yesterday. I have milk kefir grains but want to try the water grains. I love the whey methods flavors much better than the extra salt.

    Reply

    13 Kelly May 3, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Hi Catherine,
    Where do you buy that pickling spice? My sister lives by you and I can ask her to get me some. :)
    Thanks,
    Kelly

    Reply

    14 Kyle May 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I was actually wondering about lacto-fermenting vegetables and stuff the other day, and then you posted this, so it was very timely! I’m definitely going to have to try that lemonade recipe. Sucanat isn’t too expensive, I can get it for $2.05 a pound, which seems good to me. Maple syrup is super expensive though! It’s over $10.00 a pound, so I go easy on it!

    I also need to get some water-kefir grains.

    Kyle

    Reply

    15 Michelle (Health Food Lover) October 27, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I have so far dabbled in a few types of fermented foods: Sauerkraut, buttermilk, yoghurt and sourcream all which were very good.

    I find that sauerkraut doesn’t taste as acidic if I eat it with things rather than by itself. I actually really like it!

    I’ve ordered water kefir grains so I’m excited to try them out! Do you know do they join together like milk kefir grains seem to do?

    Michelle.

    Reply

    16 KitchenKop October 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I’ve never used milk kefir grains so I don’t know what you mean by “join together” – maybe someone else knows?
    Kelly

    Reply

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