being proactive about probiotics
February 2, 2018 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I want to eat more food containing probiotics. Kefir is relatively easy to get where I am (Toronto, centre) I have always enjoyed sauerkraut but how can I tell if it is raw? I have yet to see a label that tells me that. Bonus points if you can tell me where/how I can buy fresh, unprocessed pickles in downtown Toronto. Thanks!
posted by uans to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
In the U.S. I can only get raw sauerkraut at the farmer's market. I think that canning or jarring amounts to pasteurizing, and I don't believe I've seen sauerkraut in a store that isn't canned or jarred.

BUT! And I know this isn't exactly your question, but it is pretty easy to make sauerkraut on your own. You can do it in a mason jar with something called a fermentation lid (basically an airlock and available on Amazon as well as any number of other places).

You really only need water, cabbage, and kosher/sea/pickling salt, but you can dress it up lots of fun ways (garlic, beets, carrots, beer, mustard seed, caraway seed) that you'll never see at the store. There are any number of books and recipes out there. If you want a place to start, check out a book called Wild Fermentation by a writer named Sandor Ellix Katz.
posted by gauche at 8:34 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

In the US I can find raw sauerkraut very easily at whole foods and Trader Joe’s. It usually says on the label that it is having live cultures and when you open it you can see that it’s bubbly usually. Korean food stores are also a great way to get probiotics, they often have fresh kimchi. Both will be in the refrigerated section.
posted by permiechickie at 8:37 AM on February 2, 2018

If you're interested in kimchi and haven't been to PAT Supermarket on Bloor (near Christie), definitely go check out what they have - because they have a huge selection of it (since it's a Korean supermarket).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:46 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I searched homemade sauerkraut Toronto and got results that looked promising. Check Trader Joes; their sauerkraut was tasty and had the crunch of fresh. All Korean groceries and some other Asian groceries will have kim chi, which is different, but is fermented cabbage and has probiotic properties. Morses Sauerkraut in Maine does mail order. I don't know if it can be shipped to Canada. It's really good sauerkraut.
posted by theora55 at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2018

You can make your own fermented veggies and is so super simple! I just went to a workshop and I couldn't believe how easy it is. If you want to give it a try:
- rinse a few veggies of choice (any type of cabbage, raddishes, carrot and spring onions are always a good start) without soap
- cut them up and put them in a bowl
- season to taste without salt (additional ideas: mix in fresh ginger, fresh ground up apple or pear, chili flakes, masala, etc.) and massage
- stuff everything in a glas jar and pack it tight
- add water with some salt (like if you where cooking pasta, but cold water) and make sure everything is covered
- screw on lid and let it sit at room temperature but dark
- burp the glass every 3-5 days (if it is sparkling, then the process is going well)
- try after 10 days, ferment more or keep in fridge to slow down fermentation and enjoy :)
posted by Fallbala at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you like sauerkraut, you will love miso as a spread on sandwiches! You need to use it cold because heating miso for soup kills the probiotics, and you need to buy the most aged miso you can find because the longer it ages the more cultures it has. My favorite miso paste that's widely available is Miso Master original and I believe it's aged for 3 years.
posted by rada at 11:16 AM on February 2, 2018

For fun and budget, I've been making both kefir and kombucha at home. Get the starters--"grains" for kefir and "scoby" for kombucha--from someone on a local listserv.
posted by 8603 at 11:53 AM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I swear by anything from Pyramid Ferments out of PEC.
posted by Kitteh at 11:56 AM on February 2, 2018

Nthing Pyramid Ferments. The owner of Pyramid Ferments trucks his stuff down to the Evergreen Brickworks Market in Toronto (that's where I buy mine when I'm in town). The owner is usually working the stall - he's very friendly and more than happy to answer any of your questions. There are number of other makers at that market that might have product that will fit the bill for you as well. Open only on Saturday and accessible by transit.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think ACV is a pre-biotic, but I drink a tablespoon with honey (sometimes with green tea as well) 3x per week instead of tea/water
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 3:32 AM on February 3, 2018

ACV = apple cider vinegar
I like it because it's so easy to store and keep
Also tablespoon with warm water + honey* sorry!
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 3:37 AM on February 3, 2018

How to feed your gut From The Guardian
posted by mumimor at 7:42 AM on February 4, 2018

Don't know if this is what you are looking for in pickles, but just saw this tweet that Fiesta Farms is carrying Marty's pickles.
posted by girlpublisher at 8:39 AM on March 9, 2018

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