Good morning! Do you eat (or drink) fermented foods daily? If you answered yes, I applaud you! And, if you answered no, may I challenge you to give it a try?
But why?, you might be asking. Well, fermented foods (and beverages) contain live microorganisms called probiotics. These probiotics also live in the gut and help to form a protective layer that act as our first line of defense in immunity. Did you know that 80% of our immunity is found in our gut?
These probiotics, or good bacteria, boost immune function and increase resistance to infection. Individuals with flourishing levels of good bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease causing bacteria. And, this is just one reason why fermented foods should be in your daily diet!
Read Those Labels!
I have found that yogurt is usually the easiest fermented food to add into a person’s diet. But, you need to be careful when buying yogurt. There are so many options out there and a large handful of them are loaded with sugar, use artificial sweeteners/flavors, or thickened with loads of binders and fillers.
Reading the label is key to finding a good quality yogurt! When I’m buying yogurt, I’m looking for whole milk, live and active cultures, low in sugar (less than 12 grams/serving), no artificial sweeteners/flavorings, and no fillers and binders like carrageenan.
Check out our yogurt section! We have many great yogurts that meet all these guidelines above. But, since I love tinkering around in the kitchen and I love fermented foods, I started making my own yogurt. It’s so easy, and you don’t need any fancy yogurt making equipment, just a Crock-Pot® or slow cooker.
Ingredients / Equipment:
- 2 heaping tablespoons plain, whole milk yogurt (I use Snowville 6%)
- ½ gallon whole milk, do not use ultra-pasteurized (I use Hartzler’s which is low-temp vat pasteurized)
- Crock-Pot® with lid
- 2 bath towels
Turn the Crock-Pot® on low and add your milk. Cover with lid and allow to heat for 2 ½ hours. Turn off (and even unplug) the Crock-Pot® and allow the milk to cool for 3 hours. Whisk in the yogurt, cover with lid and wrap Crock-Pot® with 2 bath towels. Allow to culture 8-12 hours or even overnight. Pour into glass containers and store in the fridge. Allow it to set for 6 hours before enjoying. Make sure to save a couple tablespoons of yogurt to culture your next batch.
My daughter and I love Greek yogurt, so I take the yogurt I make and strain it in a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth that is nestled over a bowl for at least an hour. The yogurt becomes thick and creamy! The whey that’s left in the bowl can be used to ferment veggies if you choose to keep it. We love adding a bit of honey and our favorite seasonal fruit. It makes for a great snack that is packed with protein and fat to keep us full!
Beth Blessing (Organic Beth) has a Masters in Nutrition and is the co-founder of Green Bean Delivery. She is a mother of three that loves supporting family farms and searching for unique, artisanal products. Her goal is to help others eat better and live a more natural, holistic life through healthy recipes and practical tips. Follow her on Facebook: @OrganicBeth