- cooking with kids
If you know the benefits of fermented foods, want your children to chow down on them, and can’t get their little taste buds interested, help has arrived. Earlier this year, we posted an article on 26 fermented foods kids adore, but sometimes it takes more than somewhat familiar treats to get kids to open their mouths. Heck, I know one little girl who thinks the phrase “it has yummy vitamins in it” equates to “it tastes like an old, dirty gym sock.”
Before you give up on good nutrition for the preschool set, check out the following homegrown cultures. They let your kids do something that all little ones love – be a part of the process. Creating a food from scratch is an exciting experience, and many children are more willing to try new foods if they’re involved in the process of creating them. That’s not just hearsay. Research has demonstrated, on numerous occasions, that getting kids to help out with the cooking 1 can result in them making smarter meal choices 2 and eating more of what is served 3.
Here are ten of our favorite SCOBY food dishes and homemade cultured foods to capture young children’s imaginations and excite their curiosity while creating a healthy food they’ll love to eat:
Kefir or Yogurt
This easy to grow culture teaches patience, takes few resources, and makes a delicious result that your kids will love to devour at breakfast, lunch, or even for dessert. The Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter blogger Sofya delves into the inner workings of yogurt-making.
As Sofya says,
“Homemade yogurt, including Greek-style, is one of the easiest things to make, not to mention that it is 50% cheaper and incomparably fresher and tastier than any store-shelf brand. Yet, for those who haven’t tried it, the process can often be shrouded in mystery and fear. In reality, however, making yogurt is really straightforward if you understand what it actually is and what makes it succeed or fail.”
Bubbly, delicious, and much lower in sugar than their store-bought counterparts, homemade sodas can be made using a ginger bug, SCOBY, water kefir, or even through lacto-fermentation. How you make homemade pop is your choice. The flavor is sure to win fans quickly, though. Joc at Little Boozy Homemakers gave homemade soda pop a try and loved the results. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:
“Making it is definitely cheaper than buying it, and really, you shouldn’t buy pop anyway. It’s terrible for you. But the homemade stuff really isn’t that bad for you since you get to control the level of sugar (and most of it is consumed by the yeast or lactobacillus anyway), and lactic acid has the added bonus of helping you with your digestion, just like it does when you eat yogurt.” 4
If your kids groan at the sight of cabbage, making homemade sauerkraut is a great way to get them excited about vegetables in general. Sauerkraut-making is the perfect activity for 7-10 year olds who are interested in chemistry, curious about the way things work, and willing to wait to see the results. Take photos during the process to make a bigger impression.
Nourished Kitchen is one of my go-to sites for great recipes and cooking tips. You’ll be delighted with the sauerkraut recipe 5 they post, too. It’s kid-friendly, taste bud-approved.
There are hundreds of types of sourdough bread you can make with your kids. One of my favorites is Amish Friendship Bread. You make the starter and pass it on…it’s an activity that teaches sharing, makes a tasty result with almost instant gratification, and is a great fermented food for kids who are reluctant to jump into more experimental dishes.
Get the recipe for Amish Friendship Bread starter here 6, along with all the information about this delicious treat that you’ll need to get started.
Butter is the heart of all good cooking, in my book. After a short time on the blacklist, it’s recently been returned to the health food scene, with vigor. Make cultured butter at home with your little ones to show them how the process works. It’s simple enough for the youngest children to help with, but the changes are fascinating enough to capture older kids’ attention, too.
Jennifer Farley shares photos that will get your mouth watering on her blog, Savory Simple. The recipe she posts 7 is from America’s Test Kitchen, and is absolutely divine.
What kid doesn’t love pickles? The best part about them is how easily they blend into hundreds of dishes, from potato salads to hamburgers. Get your kids to give you a hand making pickles and explain the science behind the process. Their little minds will be as fascinated as their taste buds.
The Nourishing Cook has some priceless tips on making your own cucumber pickles using fermentation. Check out what she has to say here 8.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One of my all-time favorite fermented foods is apple cider vinegar. Made with a SCOBY called “the mother,” this delightfully useful homemade vinegar can teach your kids a lot of lessons. Get them involved in every step of the process, and let them taste-test as your vinegar matures. They’ll be fascinated by the changes it undergoes in the process of fermentation. I love this recipe 9 by Sarah at the Healthy Home Economist.
What tastes like cheese, looks like cheese, and is vegan-friendly? Seed cheese! If your family enjoys a vegan lifestyle, this is the perfect fermented food to make with your little ones. Making seed cheese is an easy and exciting process. When it’s done, you can make homemade cheese crackers, too!
Entertaining in the near future or have a holiday-loving little one in the house? Check out this recipe on Rawmazing for a Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Cheese Log with Thyme 10. You’ll be surprised how easy and delicious it is.
My toddler adores ketchup. So do his cousins. If your kids are in love with the red stuff, get them to help you make a batch of home-fermented ketchup. It’s a simple, delicious, and memorable experience that brings one of their favorite foods into the realm of fermented yummies.
Wellness Mama shares a great recipe 11 on her site and reminds us “ketchup is one of the most kid-friendly foods out there, and some kids (mine!) will eat anything with ketchup on it. Unfortunately, most store bought versions are packed with GMO tomatoes and High Fructose Corn Syrup.”
In our house, if ketchup isn’t in demand, ranch dressing is. For homemade chicken nuggets, veggies, and myriad other meals and snacks, this creamy condiment is the perfect topping. If your kids already love it, making it from scratch could be the key to getting them interested in fermented foods.
Mommypotamus shares a great recipe 11 on her site that your little ones are sure to love.
It's time to test new recipes, break with culinary tradition, and indulge in not only eating, but making yummy fermented foods with your little ones. Send us the stories of your adventures and we'll share them here on the blog! And don't forget, sharing is caring. Feel free to share this article with anyone you think will enjoy it or find it useful.
Image Credits: AimeeLow on morgueFile
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