3 Easy Recipes for Kid Friendly Fermented Foods

We all know how kid friendly fermented foods are, right? Kids can’t wait until that fresh batch of spicy kimchi is ready. They just love the strange texture of sauerkraut and the sour flavor of all fermented foods. Okay, seriously, it’s no easy feat getting kids to try new things, but don’t let that scare you away. When it comes to promoting good health, nothing can compete with fermented foods. I’ve been experimenting with fermentation for about a year now, and I have discovered a few kid friendly fermented foods that my kids absolutely love. 

Kid Friendly Fermented Food Recipes

What are Fermented Foods?

Fermented, or cultured, foods are simply foods that are being broken down by living microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and other fungi. These microbes consume carbs & sugar and begin to break down proteins in the food as well. As a byproduct, the microorganisms produce various nutrients and make the food easier for us to digest. When we consume fermented food, we are getting these nutrients and trillions of probiotic organisms as well. Yogurt is the number one fermented food consumed in the United States. Sauerkraut is another well-known fermented food. 

Why is it Important to Make Kid Friendly Fermented Foods?

There are a myriad a health conditions that have been on the rise for many years. Many of these challenges are most evident in our kids. Learning disabilities, ADHD, & autism cause major challenges at school while allergies, asthma, & even irritable bowel disease take away the everyday fun of being a kid. Many of these conditions can be traced back to poor gut health.

How does gut health influence the brain or cause asthma? It’s not an obvious connection, but it’s one that researchers and scientists are continuing to discover. The gut, brain, and immune system all talk to one another. If one is weak, it affects the others. The bulk of your immune system is found in your gut, so if our kids’ guts are unhealthy, they are likely to have a weak immune system.

Probiotics to the Rescue

Probiotics can protect our health. Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, creator of the GAPS diet, describes these beneficial microorganisms as the housekeepers of the gut. Good microbes protect the gut lining and allows it to perform many of its’ critical functions. Regular consumption of fermented foods can provide a steady stream of probiotics and help maintain good gut health, and thus promote overall health and wellness.

Why Not Just Give My Kids a Pill

You may be thinking, “I’ll just give my kids probiotic supplements and not even deal with trying to find kid friendly fermented foods.” In my experience, these over the counter probiotics are ineffective. We gave my son with autism a good, quality probiotic multiple times a day for years. However, we never saw an improvement in his gut health. (as shown in lab tests) As such, I’ve personally lost faith in oral probiotic supplements.

No Contest, Fermented Foods are Better

Homemade fermented foods can provide a vastly superior amount of beneficial bacteria than a probiotic supplement. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, 1-2 capsules of his probiotic supplement, sold on his site, contained 100 billion CFUs. (which is actually really good, but…) Dr. Mercola then measured what was in his cultured veggies. He discovered that 2 ounces of fermented foods contained 10 trillion CFUs! That’s more than an entire bottle of probiotics. Starter cultures will cost around $25-35. If you consider the cost of one bottle of probiotics is around $30+, this is a steal of a deal.

Easy Recipes for Kid Friendly Fermented FoodsMaking Kid Friendly Fermented Foods at Home

The basic process is simple.

  1. Prepare your food
  2. Place in a glass mason jar
  3. Submerge it in a brine. (a salt water solution containing a starter culture)
  4. Seal the jar and let the magic happen.

**To learn the full details on how to make fermented foods check out this article I wrote for CrunchyMama Science.com

Ready to Make Your Own Kid Friendly Fermented Foods?

These are my best recipes for kid friendly fermented foods. They retain some of their sweetness making it easier for the kids to get used to the sourness of cultured food.

Kid Friendly Fermented Foods Recipe #1

Ginger Cinnamon Apples
Ingredients
  • 1   3lb bag of Organic Granny Smith Apples sliced into wedges
  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon flakes or 2 cinnamon sticks*
  • 1-3 tbsp fresh ginger peeled & grated*
  • 1    tbsp sea salt
  • ½   tsp starter culture
  • 4    2-cup mason jars (or 1 8 cup jar)
  • 3-6 cups of chlorine free water (enough to ensure apples are submerged)

*I’ve found that using ground cinnamon yields a slimy texture on the apples.

* You don’t need to grate the ginger, but it does help the ginger flavor be more potent. Fresh ginger is best!

Instructions:
Prepare the Brine
  • Using about 3 cups of water add in starter culture & sea salt.
  • Mix Well
Prepare the Brew
  • Add fresh ginger & cinnamon to mason jar
  • Add apple wedges to the mason jars. Be sure to pack them tightly, so they do not float
  • Pour the brine on top ensuring everything is underwater completely. If necessary, use glass weights or a couple cabbage leaves to ensure everything stays submerged.
  • Seal the jars tightly and store them in a warm place (68-75 degress) for 2-5 days.*
  • The apples will be slightly sour, but retain some sweetness when ready.

*The longer the apples ferment, the more probiotic organism will grow. However, the longer they ferment the more sour and the less crunchy they will be. I typically let mine go for 3 days.

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kid friendly fermented foods ginger apples

 

Kid Friendly Fermented Foods Recipe #2

Honey Blueberries

Ingredients
  • 3-4 cups of organic blueberries
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1    tbsp sea salt
  • ½   tsp starter culture
  • 2    2-cup mason jar
  • 1-2 cups of chlorine free water (enough to ensure berries are submerged)
Instructions:
Prepare the Brine
  • Using about 1 cup of water add in raw honey, starter culture & sea salt.
  • Mix Well
Prepare the Brew
  • Add berries to the mason jars. Be sure to pack them tightly.
  • Pour the brine on top ensuring everything is underwater completely. Some of the berries will inevitably rise to the top, so it may be a good idea to use glass weights or a couple cabbage leaves to ensure everything stays submerged.
  • Seal the jars tightly and store them in a warm place (68-75 degress) for 2-3 days.
  • The blueberries will be slightly sour, but retain some sweetness when ready.

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Kid Friendly fermented food Blueberries

Kid Friendly Fermented Foods Recipe #3

Ginger Spice Carrots

Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs of organic carrots (peeled & sliced into sticks)
  • 1-2 tbsp cinnamon flakes or 2 cinnamon sticks*
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger peeled & grated*
  • 1    tbsp sea salt
  • ½   tsp starter culture
  • 2    2-cup mason jar
  • 2-4 cups of chlorine free water (enough to ensure carrots are submerged)

*I’ve found that using ground cinnamon can yield a slimy texture.

*Fresh ginger is always best! You don’t need to grate the ginger, but it does help the ginger flavor be more potent. 

Instructions:
Prepare the Brine
  • Using about 2 cups of water add in starter culture & sea salt.
  • Mix Well
Prepare the Brew
  • Add fresh ginger & cinnamon to mason jar
  • Pack carrot sticks tightly inside the jars. Remember, we don’t want them to float to the top
  • Pour the brine on top ensuring everything is underwater completely. If necessary, use glass weights or a couple cabbage leaves to ensure everything stays submerged.
  • Seal the jars tightly and store them in a warm place (68-75 degress) for 5-7 days.*
  • The carrots will be slightly sour, but retain some sweetness when ready.

*Since the carrots may take up to a week, you may need to “burp” the jars. Simply loosen the lid to let some of the carbon dioxide escape. Do not completely remove the lid. This exposes your brew to the air and can lead to mold. Only need to do this once, if at all.

 

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Kid Friendly fermented food Carrots

 

But Wait, There’s More

These kid friendly fermented foods are just the tip of the fermentation iceberg. There are plenty of other fermented options that your kids would love. You can try water kefir, homemade soda, & even fermented fruit juices. Check out this post I wrote on Kombucha, a super yummy fermented tea that can be flavored to your kids liking.

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