Fermented foods have become hugely popular in the last few years so it's no surprise to see them popping up on shelves everywhere from farmers markets to health food stores and even supermarkets which means it's never been easier to get your hands on them.
Unfortunately not all fermented foods are created equal so it helps to know what to look for to make sure you choose one that will give you the maximum amount of benefits, nutrition and flavour.
So here's a run down on what to look out for when buying your next jar of kruat, bottle of kombucha or tub of yoghurt.
Alway choose a sauerkraut from the fridge section. These ones are full of live bacteria (like a probiotic) that are good for our guts. The ones on the shelf have been pastuerised (heated) which kills all the beneficial bacteria.
The only ingredients on the label should be vegetables/herb/spices and salt- no vinegar or sugar.
Some brands add starter cultures for consistency in their products and this is normal.
Always choose a kefir or kombucha from the fridge section (the ones on the shelf have been pastuerised which kills all the beneficial bacteria).
The only ingredients on the label should be tea, sugar, water, fruit/roots/spices to flavour and kombucha/kefir culture.
Sugar is a normal ingredient needed for the fermentation process. It provides a fuel source for the culture to convert it to beneficial bacteria.
Choose a plain variety with no added sugar.
The only ingredients on the label should be milk and live cultures (except for coconut yoghurt which usually contains tapioca starch to thicken it).
The more variety of live cultures listed the better. Lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus bulgaricus, bifidus and streptococcus thermophilus are the most common.
Choose organic when possible to ensure you are getting yoghurt from happy, healthy cows (or coconuts).
The best place to buy them
Farmers markets - This is the best place to get your hands on locally produced ferments and speak directly to the producer.
Health food stores - Check the fridge section for what's on offer, look for a locally produced product or ask staff for their recommendations.