When talking with friends and family about all the yummy fermented foods I create at home, I was surprised to hear several fermented food fears over and over again.
What could one possibly fear about this ancient form of preserving food?
Several things apparently.
Fermented Food Fears
Disgusting!-Eating bacteria freaks me out/is gross!
Did you know that your body is covered in microbes, inside and out. In fact, the microbes in and on your body out number your human cells 10 to 1!
That’s right, you are more bacteria than you are human!
And you need these microbes to be healthy. source 1
Plus, you’re already eating fermented foods, like cheese, pepperoni and chocolate. You just didn’t realize it.
Safety-I’m concerned that I’ll poison myself or my family making my own fermented foods.
Fermented foods are very, very safe.
Fermented vegetables are even safer than raw vegetables! source 2
There are no documented cases of foodborne illness caused by fermented foods and people have been fermenting for centuries.
I’ve been fermenting things for a while now and I can tell you from experience, in the event something goes wrong, you’ll know. Either you will visually see mold or it will smell so putrid that you wouldn’t dare eat it.
I’m too Busy- Fermenting food sounds difficult and time consuming.
Not true. Making sauerkraut or fermented vegetables is as easy as making coleslaw and a lot easier than canning.
Several fermented beverages I make take about 5 minutes every day or every other day to maintain. Kind of like making koolaide or a pitcher of tea. And you can take a beak from making them for a week or so at at time by sticking them in your refrigerator.
With that said, if you catch the fermenting bug like I have, and you have 6 or 7 different jars of live, bubbly bacteria filled goodness stashed away in various corners of your house at any given moment, it will take up a small amount of your time.
But it’s delicious, fun and worth it! And you can stop anytime you want to.
Trust me you really can! I tell my husband that all the time.
“Honey, I can stop fermenting things any time I want to.”
I’m not sure he believes me?
Of course I have yet to prove it to him, but only because I haven’t wanted to.
Yuck!- I don’t like the taste.
Are you sure? When it comes to sauerkraut, I’ve heard countless people say they hate it. But when I inquire further about what kind of sauerkraut they’ve tried, it’s usually the vinegar preserved type of sauerkraut. Fermented sauerkraut tastes nothing like it’s vinegary cousin. I know, because I grew up on the vinegar stuff.
I’ve also heard complaints that some fermented foods are too sour. If you’re used to eating lots of sugar and drinking soda, they may be at first.
Start slow and give it a chance. Maybe consider starting out with a fermented fruit like cultured applesauce made from local apples (recipe coming soon). Then work your way up to water kefir, sauerkraut, radishes, onions, kombucha and more. The possibilities are endless.
And cut back on the sugar for goodness sake, It’s terrible for you!
Quite the opposite of yuck, I actually crave fermented foods now that I am used to having them. It’s sauerkraut and sourdough that I seem to crave the most.
Embarrassing Side Effects- Gas, bloating, cramps…….
I’m afraid that fermented foods will be difficult to digest. Or that I’ll get gas or some type of gastrointestinal discomfort if I eat them.
Lots of people find the opposite is true. Fermented foods get broken down during the fermentation process, which can make them easier to digest for some people.
However, other people find if they consume large quantities of fermented food when their body isn’t used to them, they experience some mild issues at first.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, just start out slow. Two tablespoons of sauerkraut, one fermented onion slice or a half cup of water kefir is a good place to start.
If you have a histamine intolerance, which is uncommon, fermented foods might not agree with you.
Histamine intolerance is not the same thing as having allergies. I have allergies and I enjoy fermented foods daily with no problems at all.
A histamine intolerance is caused by the lack of certain enzymes in your gut that are responsible for getting rid of histamine.
If you experience a runny nose, headaches, asthma, itchy skin or skin problems after consuming citrus fruits, chocolate, vanilla, spinach, tomato, eggplant, vinegar, aged cheeses or cured meats, you might have histamine intolerance. If you don’t have problems with these foods, you’re probably fine.
You can read a detailed description of what histamine intolerance is and how you might overcome it if you have one here.
What do you think? Have I convinced you to try fermented foods yet?
If you’re considering adding fermented foods to your diet, visit back soon and I’ll be sharing where you can purchase raw live fermented foods in Southeastern Indiana, so you can get started enjoying their health benefits right away.
And be sure to subscribe to receive updates, so you won’t miss any of the fermented recipes I’ll be posting from time to time featuring local Southeastern Indiana fruits and vegetables that we grow ourselves or purchase form farmers markets.