One of the most traditional ways to preserve foods is through lacto-fermentation. However, there are health benefits to this method of preserving foods too! During the fermentation process, healthy bacteria – more commonly referred to as probiotics – are cultured. So, not only are you able to store lacto-fermented foods for longer, they’re good for your gut too!
When people learn about the benefits of culturing foods, they often want to give it a try but are afraid their kids won’t be on board with eating sauerkraut. Fortunately, there are plenty of fermented foods that kids enjoy.
Here are seven fermented foods that even kids will eat. These are great options for introducing cultured foods to grownups too!
It seems that ketchup is a staple of many kids’ diets. Unfortunately, most ketchup you find at the grocery store is full of high fructose corn syrup or GMO beet sugar. Even organic ketchup has a lot of sugar in it. If you’re trying to cut down on your child’s sugar intake without taking away their favorite foods, try making your own fermented ketchup. They’ll get the side benefit of extra probiotics and they won’t even know they’re eating something healthier.
If you’ve ever picked up a jar of pickles at the grocery store, you’ve probably noticed all sorts of additives, including artificial colors. If your kids enjoy pickles, it’s super easy to make traditional, lacto-fermented pickles. All it takes are a few simple ingredients like fresh cucumbers, dill, garlic, spices, sea salt, and water. In a week you have the perfect, healthful treat.
Kombucha is becoming very popular, and you’ll find many brands in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. However, at $3-4 per bottle, it can get expensive very quickly! Fortunately, it’s simple to brew your own kombucha at a fraction of the cost. Kids tend to enjoy kombucha that has a shorter ferment time with a second ferment infused with berries and other sweet fruits.
Water or Milk Kefir
A healthy alternative to sugary sodas is water kefir. You can make water kefir by putting water kefir grains into sugar water. Then you flavor it with lemon juice or any of your favorite juices to give it a sweet, fruity flavor that kids will love. You can also make milk kefir in a similar way, but it tastes like a smoothie instead of soda. Both milk kefir and water kefir are also available for purchase pre-made, but it’s more cost-effective to make it yourself.
Store-bought yogurt is another item that is usually full of sugar and other additives. It’s very easy to make your own yogurt at home, where you can control what goes into it. If your child needs a little sweetness, add fresh fruit or local, raw honey to it when you serve it. Homemade yogurt is sure to be a favorite of little ones in most homes.
In many homes, salsa is another staple. It’s super easy to make salsa, and it only takes a little bit of extra time to turn it into a probiotic dip. You can make red salsa or green salsa by simply adding a veggie starter culture to your favorite raw salsa recipe and allowing it to sit on the counter for a few days. The lacto-fermentation process enhances the flavors of the fresh ingredients too!
Carrots are a great introduction to cultured veggies because they’re naturally sweet. By adding ginger, it gives it a nice twist on the flavor too. If you’re looking for an activity to do with your kids in the kitchen, try fermenting carrots with ginger. They’ll be more willing to try it if they helped to prepare it.
You’re sure to find many fermented foods your kids will enjoy. Just keep experimenting until you find the right flavors for them.
Feature image courtesy of Eva Elijas from Pexels. Originally published on February 25, 2015, this article was updated in September 2021.