Mark Bittman offers a secret for incorporating these strong-tasting foods into everyday meals.
Mark Bittman is a cooking guru with a knack for making great food accessible to the average home cook. A recent post on his food blog has a useful suggestion for how to incorporate more fermented ingredients into one’s diet – mix them with fresh!
This is simple but smart. Fermented foods have a strong, often overpowering taste that can turn off people who aren’t used to them. By mixing with their fresh counterparts or with other ingredients that work well alongside them, it tones down the intensity of the flavor while still providing the health benefits that come from all that good bacteria.
A quick note about that bacteria: It helps make some foods, such as sourdough breads and dairy products, easier to digest, and introduces important probiotics to the gut.
“These can strengthen the immune system, protect from colon cancer, relieve lactose intolerance and rotavirus diarrhea, reduce frequency of cavities, prevent recurrence of irritable bowel syndrome, promote clear skin, increase energy and balance hormones, reduce likelihood of infection, and improve digestion overall, among many other benefits.”
So what does Bittman mean when he suggests mixing fermented foods with fresh? Essentially, mix like with like.
- Stir sauerkraut into stir-fried cabbage. Season with dill, salt, pepper, and mustard.
- Mix a generous amount of kefir with plain yogurt and serve with granola and fruit for breakfast. You can also use kefir in salad dressing.
- Add a splash of kombucha or unfiltered apple cider vinegar to green or black tea, to fruit smoothies for breakfast, or protein shakes.
- Crumble tempeh (fermented soybean cakes) into cooked beans or grains. Add seasonings and dressings for a salad.
- Chop fermented dill pickles with cucumbers, or fermented carrots with freshly grated carrots for salad. The sky’s the limit when it comes to pickled vegetables. Use some brine in the dressing.