I admit, I was stumped with this month’s Recipe ReDux theme (the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians -join us!) which is “Fermented Foods.” You may have heard about the health benefits of these foods – many which can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures like Rome and China. The probiotic strains that are created during lacto-fermentation are good for our guts and help protect against food borne illnesses. (Read more on the history and health benefits of fermenation in Food & Nutrition Magazine.)
This ReDux challenge encouraged us to make our own fermented food (or use as an ingredient.) I considered making sourdough bread (you need a starter), kefir (you need a starter), sauerkraut (you need a ceramic crock) and then with 48 hours to go, I realized time was not on my side.
So, instead, I bought some already fermented, plain kefir. Kefir is cultured milk drink (think a cross between yogurt and buttermilk) that is fermented with kefir grains. Currently, I’m loving the rising trend of mixing spicy & savory spices/herbs with desserts and fruits – I recently had some gourmet chili mango hard candy (mango with chili is a common treat in many warm climates around the globe.) Here I used smoked paprika (my spice obsession over the past year) in place of chili powder and upon researching the best way to mix spice into a drink, I stumbled across this post. Dan of The Food in My Beard suggests making spiced ice cubes (and if you’re really ambitious, he also describes how to make chili powder and dried mango – but clearly I did not do that.)
The creamy tang of the kefir + the sweetness from the mango & honey + the smoky burn of paprika = a heavenly flavor trio! (If you want more spicy heat and less smoke, use chili powder instead.)
What’s your favorite fermented food? Have you ever made your own yogurt or kefir?