Top 5 Seasonal Fermented Foods

by Amie Watson

‘Tis the season…to infuse fermented foods into your diet! These healthy and delicious treats are the secret to better digestion during the holidays thanks to their natural probiotics – so you can worry less about overindulging in gingerbread cookies and get back to making the season bright.

Ginger beer

Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is the new kombucha. It's a sweet-spiced drink made with a ginger "bug" (like a sourdough starter that you feed daily) that gets fermentation started and creates gingery bubbles that tickle your nose when you take your first sip. It’s also lower in sugar than commercial soft drinks and has tons of healthy gut bacteria.

Fermented beets and beet kvass

While pickled beets are the traditional side dish for seasonal tourtière or shepherd’s pie, these funky fermented ones are a more nutritious and less sugary variation. They’re also great on an appetizer platter for when friends drop by unexpectedly. And don’t throw out that leftover beet juice! Kvass is drank as a tonic because it’s loaded with nutrients and can be sipped to ease digestion. But it also works wonders in place of vinegar in salad dressings.  

Fermented Berries

Ever gone to a holiday party and been disappointed in the not-so-vegan-friendly spread? Sick of munching on underripe imported fruit? There’s nothing better to have on-hand for your celebrations than these simple fermented berries, which sound exotic, help digestion and add a little fun to any celebration. Plus, you can make them with frozen local wild blueberries for a locavore treat. Serve them with vegan yogurt, crepes, cakes or soy custard.

Hard apple cider

Hard Apple Cider

Apple juice, apple cider, hard cider – what’s the difference? Apple cider is apple juice that’s unfiltered and often unpasteurized. Look for a brand with no preservatives added, which will help the fermentation. The recipe takes a number of weeks, but start it at the same time as a batch of fermented gingerbread cookies and you’ll be merry well into the winter season! For a non-alcoholic ­(and quicker) variation, try fermenting apple juice with a local powdered culture starter.

Traditional Sauerkraut

This fermented cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to veggie sausage in a lightened-up Christmas cassoulet. It’s also the gateway drug of fermenters around the world because it’s so easy to make – once you’ve made a great batch of sauerkraut, you’ll be hooked. This recipe comes from the king of fermentation, Sandor Katz.


Amie Watson
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Amie Watson

Amie is a heavyweight food writer and a lightweight television personality but a featherweight foodie. She loves writing recipes and restaurant reviews for her blog, Multiculturiosity and freelancing with enRoute, Menu International, Fine Dining Lovers, MAtv and Ricardo Media. She loves all things local, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free, but only if they’re delicious. Celery root? Well, it's growing on her.


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