Adding fermented foods to your diet has many benefits. Fermented foods have increased vitamins and enzymes, are easier to digest, increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut and can help your immune system. What a great way to keep healthy this winter!!!
Culturing your own fruits and vegetables at home is a very cost effective way of getting probiotics into your diet. Plus, it is fun! Like a science experiment on your kitchen counter.
Cultured berries is one of my favorite fermented foods. It is so easy and you can use them on so many things! Everyone loves them and it is a great way to get probiotic foods into your family's diet!
You can use any berries, except strawberries. Strawberries do not ferment well, which are too acidic for lacto-fermentation, according to the Nourishing Traditions book. I have never tried so if you have successfully fermented strawberries, let us know in the comments!
To make 1 pint of cultured berries, you will want to start with 2 cups of fresh berries (blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, blackberries or a mixture). I have had success with frozen berries as well, just be sure there are no funky additives. Be sure they are washed and leaves, stems, etc. are picked out.
Put the berries into clean 1 pint jars, pressing down to squish them a little. You can mix the berries together. I chose to keep them separate this time. Be sure to leave about an inch of space at the top of the jar.
For each 1 pint jar, mix 2 tbsp rapadura or honey, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 2 tbsp of whey OR 1/2 tsp culture starter and about 2-3 tbsp filtered water (if you are using Culture Starter, you can use an additional tbsp of water) in a measuring cup.
Pour slowly into jar.
Using a wooden spoon or a clean hand, press down gently on the berries. Pour the rest of the liquid until there is about an inch of headroom. Add more filtered water if necessary. The berries must be under the water in order for them to properly ferment. You can use a weight or cut a deli lid to fit the inside of the jar to keep them down if you want (here's more info on weights).
Screw lids on firmly. Set on a tray or plate in case juices bubble out of the lid (this happens and can make a mess). Leave at room temperature for 24-48 hours. (In a very warm kitchen…like summer with no a/c the berries might ferment in 12 hours). Mine generally take 48 hours to ferment in a 70 degree kitchen. Do not leave for more than 48 hours as due to the high sugar content of fruit, it will become alcoholic.
You know your berries are finished fermenting when you see bubbles and when they taste slightly sour with a bit of a carbonated feeling.
Put the lid back on and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months…only I promise they will not last this long as you will have gobbled them up!
There are so many uses for cultured berries. Here are some of my favorites…
- Over yogurt, cereal, ice cream
- In a juice
- Make a yogurt popsicle
- Make a sauce (mush the berries or puree them) for pancakes, crepes, waffles, custards
- Use your imagination!
- I am working on some more interesting ways to use fermented berries. I hope to have perfected recipes soon!
Does the topic of fermenting baffle you? We created a Fermenting eCourse just for you and when you sign up, we will send you a Quick Start Guide! Grab the eCourse and the guide here!
Makes 1 pint. This recipe is based on one from Nourishing Traditions.
- 2 cups mixed berries: any berries except strawberries
- 2 tbsp honey or rapadura
- 1/2 tsp culture starter mixed with a few tbsp water (or 2 tbsp whey)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- filtered water
- Put the berries into a wide mouth pint size mason jar.
- Squish them down a bit with a wooden spoon or your fist.
- In a measuring cup, mix starter culture, a few tbsp water, the honey and a pinch of salt. Stir.
- Add mixture to berries.
- Fill jar with filtered water, leaving 1 inch head space.
- Press down with fist or wooden spoon to be sure liquid has filled all the air spaces.
- Cover tightly and leave at room temp for 1-2 days.
- Store in the refrigerator. Use within 2 months.
Enjoy and Happy Culturing!!
For more information, check out the other posts in my series on gut bacteria and fermented foods: