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Anyone for kimchi or sauerkraut?

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Earlier on in the year I wrote a blog about the food trends for 2017 and one of them was fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut.

I am assuming most people know what sauerkraut is and what about kimchi?

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, it is made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly Chinese Cabbage with a variety of seasonings including chilli powder, spring onions, garlic, sometimes, salted fish and ginger.  Traditionally kimchi  was stored underground in jars to keep cool, and unfrozen during the winter months.

Since, I have heard so much about fermented foods in general I thought I would write again about the popularity and more importantly why should you try eating more of these foods.

“Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the bevy of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.”

I know I have eaten many a bowl of sauerkraut in Germany and Kimchi has been eaten in Korea and all over the world for many years. Although sadly, with food preparation, advances in technology, these time-honored traditional foods have been largely lost in our society.

Where Have All the Fermented Foods Gone?

“The amount of probiotics and enzymes available in the average diet has declined sharply over the last few decades as pasteurized milk has replaced raw, pasteurized yogurt has replaced homemade, vinegar based pickels and sauerkraut have replaced traditional lacto-fermented versions…the list goes on.”

Why Eat Fermented Foods?

According to the Wellness Mama website here:

“Besides the fact that they taste great and really grow on you, there are several great reasons to start making and eating fermented foods:

  1. Probiotics– Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity!

  2. Absorb Food Better– Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with your healthy real food diet, and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.

  3. Budget Friendly– Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own whey at home for a couple of dollars, and using that and sea salt, ferment many foods very inexpensively. Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can be made at home also and cost only pennies per serving. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping the budget further.

  4. Preserves Food Easily– Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge- Fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning.”

Jenn Miller from New Zealand has a detailed, up to date blog about kimchi and includes six delicious recipes to try. Please take a look at Jenn’s blog

I have been experimenting with making my own fermented vegetables. They are actually easy to make and tasty! My favourite is beetroot sauerkraut, such a colourful dish. They go with so many ingredients and are great as an additional dish as we get into the summer months served with barbecues, meat and fish.

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