Fermented foods are a growing fad, but they have been in our diets from antiquity. Bread, yogurts, cheeses, beers, vinegar, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kvass, and wine are among a myriad of fermented foods and drinks many cultures consume regularly. Science is confirming what people have felt in their gut for millennia -- fermented foods are a source of immense flavor and tremendous health benefits. Different ways of fermenting foods for preservation, variety, and vitality keep the selection ever-changing. The fermentation process involves innumerable microbe-food combinations and results in an infinite array of flavorful, nutritious products.


1. What are Fermented Foods?

Fermentation may be spontaneous, as with sourdough bread, or it could occur with a starter culture like water kefir grains or kombucha SCOBYs. Lacto-fermentation involves a food component in an anaerobic environment with the Lactobacillus bacteria, which is present on all living things. Fermented foods are those produced through interactions between microorganisms and food components, such as:

  • yeast with alcohol and carbon dioxide,
  • lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and lactic acid,
  • Acetobacter and acetic acid, and
  • Bacillus or molds and ammonia and fatty acids.
yeast Fermented foods GMVozd / Getty Images


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