Perhaps you’ve heard about the health benefits of fermented foods. But maybe you’ve only tried yogurt and sauerkraut and perhaps miso soup. I just recently purchased the ebook “Planting Seeds of Nourishment” by nutritionist, Yvette DuMouchel, so I thought I’d share her recipe (with her permission, of course) for cultured dill beans. Don’t be scared away if you hate beans or even dill. The good news is that you can alter this recipe using different veggies or herbs.
And even better news is she has a whole book of great recipes like this. It’s designed with kids in mind, so if you have kids who could eat a bit healthier, if you would like more ideas for kid-friendly recipes, or if you don’t have kids, but want simple delicious recipes for adults too, check it out! This is a link to the ebook. And this is to the print book.
For me, it was a toss of a coin to decide if I would share the fermented foods recipe for beans or the elderberry syrup recipe. If you want the latter, check out her book! 😉
Cultured Dill Beans
A great way to support digestive and immune health, fermented foods are on the rise (that would be punny if this was a recipe for sourdough).
- 1 pound green beans (You can also try carrots, mini cucumber or other vegetables)
- 4 cups water
- 2½ tablespoons unrefined salt
- 4 sprigs of fresh dill
- 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1-2 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- Wash and trim green beans.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl (Do not use a metal bowl.), dissolve salt in water to make the brine.
- Place dill, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns into clean jars.
- Place green beans into jars.
- Pour brine solution over beans leaving a 1-inch space from the top of the jar. Ensure that the beans are covered in the brine solution. You can use a pickling weight or place a smaller jar over the beans to ensure they remain covered by the liquid. Remove any pieces of food that float to the surface. These can attract unwanted molds.
- Cover jar with a lid, airlock lid, cheesecloth or light cloth. If using a lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
- Culture beans at room temperature for 4 to7 days. When water becomes cloudy, taste a bean. If you like the flavour, place a lid on the jar and refrigerate to stop fermentation. If they are still salty, let them sit for another day or two until they become sour. Refrigerate when you like the flavour. Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.
- Your senses will tell you if the batch is “off”. Trust your nose. If it smells foul in any way, then compost the batch and try again. They should smell like pickles and taste sour.
Adapted from Planting Seeds of Nourishment
Adapted from Planting Seeds of Nourishment
Acupuncture, TCM, natural health, Vancouver, BC http://www.activetcm.com/
Watch my video below or read the text under that for tips about a few ways to eat (and enjoy) fermented foods.
* Note that putting yogurt in muffins will cook out the good bacteria, but there are many other ways to sneak it into your food (e.g. smoothie).
I’ve tried a number of fermented foods that I’ve wanted to spit right back out (ayran and poi, for example). And some I’ve not been able to get past the smell of (natto and stinky tofu). But don’t be offended if those are your favourite foods. My grandmother grew up eating natto, so she loves it. I think it looks like chunky mucus and smells like rotten garbage. Nothing I’d want to eat. But, the first time people try beer or alcohol, they also tend to think it doesn’t taste good. Our tastes change with exposure.
A friend once proved that to me when I told him I would not eat Marmite (New Zealand’s version of Vegemite, a food paste made from leftover yeast extract). He quietly snuck it into sandwiches he made for me. He started with tiny, miniscule amounts so I wouldn’t notice. Then gradually increased the amount bit by bit. Eventually, he opened up my sandwich as I was partway through eating it to show me that I had been happily eating something that I had once thought of as vile.
My mother used to sneak yogurt into my dad’s food because he doesn’t like yogurt. Not knowing it was there, he didn’t mind it. Though he still says he doesn’t like yogurt. Sometimes it’s also mind over matter.
Nevertheless, there are a huge number of fermented foods, all with different flavours, so I’m sure there are some that you will enjoy from the start.
Did you know that even coffee and chocolate are made from a combination of fermentation processes?
(By the way, this is a sidebar in my TCM healthy nutrition book I’m writing.)
Summary of how to like fermented foods
- Include just a little, so you can barely taste it (or not taste it at all). Easier to do if you are the cook and the fermented foods-hater doesn’t know they are eating it.
- Mix it in other foods that will hide the flavour.
- Yogurt or kefir in a smoothie. Check out this delicious lassi recipe!
- A bit of sauerkraut on a burger. Try it on a bean burger recipe.
- Chop up fermented veggies really small and add them to a salad.
- Find a chutney you’ll like–there are so many options, from fruity and sweet to savoury or spicy.
- Just because you don’t like one kind of fermented food doesn’t mean you’ll hate them all. Explore your grocery shelves and online ideas and recipes.
- Remember that tastes change. And sometimes we actually learn to like something we didn’t like once upon a time. I’ve discovered this about Brussels sprouts, fish, tomatoes, and olives (provided those olives are in Greece when I eat them).
- Try this easy sauerkraut recipe.
What are your favourite fermented foods and fermented food recipes?