As you will know, fermented foods that contain live bacteria, are a great source of probiotics (live beneficial bacteria) and even provide a great source of prebiotic too. Prebiotic fiber is the indigestible parts of fruit & veg, whole grains and nuts & seeds that goes through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the colon. This the dietary fibre that our microbes love and uses to create additional nutrients to keep us healthy.
And when you think about it, taking an already prebiotic rich food and fermenting it is like a double or maybe even a triple win? It goes like this: Fibre? Check. Good bacteria? Check. More bioavailable/useable nutrients and antioxidants? Check. So yes, a triple win indeed.
Here’s a quick ‘How to’ use five great prebiotic foods that are delicious fermented. If you don’t already, you should consider both eating more of and adding these foods to your next ferment to boost the prebiotic fibre-y goodness and feed your microbes.
- Apples–Try mixing these in with vegetable ferments and/or using them in drinks. I use apples in my kimchis and sauerkrauts, but also use them in my kvass and to flavour water kefir or kombucha. I have also cooked and then fermented them with miso to make a miso apple caramel (it was delicious).
- Onions–These are so easy to make and easy to keep. I keep fermented sliced onions as part of my ‘fermented larder’ as these go great in salads on sandwiches, tacos…pretty much anything that can do with a lovely crunch. But you can also add these into sauerkrauts, kimchis and chutneys! I also regularly use my onion brine (it’s deliciously punchy) to make salad dressings.
- Garlic–Again, one to add to ferments or ferment on its own. These form part of my staples, I ferment these whole to use in various ways, but also on their own to create little remedies when anyone is under the weather. But these also work beautifully in sauerkrauts, is one of the backbones of a kimchi and can even be brined with other ferments. If you’re worried about the bite, don’t. Fermenting mellows the flavour.
- Jerusalem Artichokes–We jokingly call these ‘fartichokes’ in my house as they do just that. They are a great source of prebiotic fiber, but fermenting them makes them (make you) less farty. I slice and ferment these in a 2% brine along with other spices and enjoy them mixed into salad or just as part of a pickle selection with a snack or cheese board.
- Seaweed–Perhaps not one you’d think of fermenting, but it works brilliantly when you want an added umami kick to any ferment. I use dried seaweed (I rehydrate this in water first) in my radish kimchi and also have use it sauerkrauts too.