Fermented vegetables, like pickles and sauerkraut, have a signature tang that foodies love: a little sour and a little savory. It’s important to note that the pickles you buy on store shelves aren’t fermented pickles: they’re made with vinegar. Real, fermented pickles are found in the refrigerator and have a unique sour taste. Other fermented vegetables found on the store shelf, like sauerkraut, may have been legitimately fermented, but then boiled to kill all of the bacteria for safe shelf storage. This process also kills all of the good bacteria, which means the probiotic health benefits are gone too. It’s extremely difficult to find real fermented foods at the grocery store (especially for a reasonable price); luckily it’s very easy to make your own!
An interesting fact about fermenting is the process can totally change the flavor of the vegetable. For instance, many people don’t like radishes because of their earthy taste and heat, but those tastes become completely subdued once the radish is fermented. Jalapeno peppers, especially when mixed with other vegetables, also lose a lot of their heat and become something anyone with a spice-sensitivity can enjoy!
The exact taste of fermented vegetables will vary depending on the ingredients of the ferment, the length of the fermentation and the amount of salt used, but if you already like pickles, sauerkraut or kimchi, chances are you’ll like the taste of other fermented veggies too.
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