Probiotics DIY

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

If you’re interested in free samples of copious amounts of organic dark chocolate, shots of wheat grass, chocolate-covered ginger (my favorite), grass-fed steak, and grain-free snack bars, the Natural Product Expo East is the place to be.

It takes place every fall at the Baltimore Convention Center, and this was my third year wandering amongst the expo-goes, scanning the booths for new, innovative products.

Nate Rifkin, a fellow writer and researcher for Living Well Daily, and Chris Campbell, managing editor of Laissez Faire Today, and I found a good deal of interesting “natural” products at the expo. Chris and Nate just wrote about the amazing kombucha we found and the philanthropic purpose behind the company’s “Sovereign” flavor.

You can read more about that in Chris’ Laissez Faire Today post here. (At least check out the super-creepy photo of Nate with some “all-natural chicken nugget” mascots. Why they chose those animals as their mascots, I have no idea.)

The expo took up the entire convention center, with two floors of exhibit halls and one floor of educational and meeting rooms. Some of the most prevalent products included grass-fed jerky, gluten-free anything and everything, and coconut water.

A lot of the same old, same old.

There were a few things, however, that struck me as novel that I thought you might be interested in.

We’ve written on more than one occasion (here, here) about the health benefits of fermented food and drink, including sauerkraut, kimchee, and kombucha.

To quickly recap, these foods are natural sources of probiotics that support gut health, and are also a source of prebiotics, the foods that the good bacteria eat.

However, these things can be quite expensive at the health food store. A single bottle of kombucha is usually at least $3 and can be up to $5! That’s why it’s great if you can make your own fermented food and drink.

A few months ago, Brad Lemley, editor of Natural Health Solutions and guru on all things nutrition, gave great instructions on how to make your own fermented veggies.

But I admit that even though I know how great these cultured foods are, I’ve been hesitant to try making my own, because I’m worried about mold and harmful bacterial contamination.

At Expo, however, I found something that could change all that.

Presenting: the Perfect Pickler!

Perfect PicklerThis device has an airlock that allows gases to escape as the veggies ferment and expand but keeps outside microbes from getting into the container. This just about guarantees that the recipe won’t become contaminated with mold.

It also has a brine cup that collects the expanding liquid and keeps the veggies underneath the brine, where they are safe on the off chance there is any potential microbe contamination.

All you do is put your sliced veggies in a jar, add sea salt (provided in the kit) and any seasonings you want, fill it with water, top it with the Perfect Pickler screw-on cap, and wait four days for friendly probiotics to make healthy fermented veggies.

Though I may sound like an infomercial right now, I’m not getting paid to tell you about this. I’m just really that excited about this product.

I’m ordering mine this week, and as soon as I give it a go, I’ll be sure to tell you how it went.

You can buy it directly through their website here, or you may be able to find it at your local health food store or Wegmans. It’s quite affordable, too. You can get a kit without a jar for $20, or one with a jar for $24. And if you’re interested in making kombucha, they provide an XL “Big Bertha” variety to make larger batches of probiotic-laden drink and food.

It also comes with a DVD that teaches you everything you need to know.

There were a few other neat things we found at Expo. I’ll be writing about them in future issues of Living Well Daily, and Nate will be back on Friday to tell you about more cool things we found.

But first I’d like to know…

Have any of you tried the Perfect Pickler before? What do you think?

Would you like Living Well to provide more information about items like this to you?

Let us know! livingwelldaily@lfb.org.

To eating well,

Jasmine LeMaster
Health Researcher

Photo Courtesy perfectpickler.com

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