Fermented Foods - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Naturally fermented foods are certainly trendy these days, especially live cultured foods - naturally fermented the old fashioned way and left unpasteurized in their raw state. For our ancestors, fermenting was a method of preservation. Today we know that fermented foods are a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle too.

Naturally fermented foods with live cultures are loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help us maintain a healthy digestive tract. An unhealthy digestive tract can lead to a compromised immune system. Adding the probiotics from fermented foods to our diet helps us keep our bacterial flora balanced. Unfortunately, our modern belief that all foods need to be pasteurized (heated to high temperatures to kill all bacteria - good and bad) has basically eliminated most sources of probiotics. There are still some unpasteurized (raw) fermented foods available today that contain live active cultures, including the following:

While all supermarket yogurt products are pasteurized, some manufacturers now add probiotics back to the yogurt after it is cooked. Look for the phrase "live cultures” on the label to be sure. No all fermented foods contain the same strains of healthy bacteria, so be sure to add many different fermented foods to your daily diet. Use raw milk cheeses in your sourdough sandwiches with pickles on the side. Add probiotics to your salads by incorporating a little unpasteurized miso into your dressing and topping with raw milk Parmigiano Reggiano cheese - shaved, shredded or grated.

Shop more Fermented Foods and ingredients here. To find the best gourmet foods and gift baskets online, begin your search at igourmet.com.