Summer is finally here, and that means it's time to dust off your grill and start prepping for some mouth-watering barbecues. While grilled meat may take center stage, let's not forget about the eating ALL the veggies.
In fact, we're going to take things one step further and talk about fermented vegetables. Be sure to bring fermented foods to your cook outs; they're gut-healthy, downright tasty and make every single meal better.
So, let's dive in and learn how adding some fermented foods to your summer grill can level up your health and flavor game.
A little bit about fermented vegetables
Most fermented foods, specifically vegetables are just that: veggies that have been left to ferment for a set period of time to create a preserved, zesty, briny, probiotic version of itself.
The process of lactic acid fermentation is what we specialize in here at Olive My Pickle. We use high mineral sea salt, water, spices and time to ferment our vegetables, including cucumbers into pickles, cabbage into sauerkraut, and spicy napa cabbage into kimchi.
During fermentation, bacteria break down the natural sugars and starches in the vegetables, creating healthy probiotics, good bacteria that improves gut health and enhances the flavor of the fermented foods.
Sauerkraut is one of the most popular forms of fermented veggies, but we cannot forget the ever popular pickles, kimchi, olives, plus we offer a variety of pickle juices that we make from the brine of our fermented vegetables. See our bundles of best sellers here.
7 ways to bring fermented foods to your summer BBQ:
There are a variety of ways to incorporate fermented vegetables into your summer picnics, here's a list of seven to get you started.
1. Pickle juice: The Perfect Finishing Touch to All Your Grilled Food
If you've ever watched a cooking show, you've probably seen the chef allow the to meat rest, then they slice it and add a pinch of salt. Perhaps they finished the grilled foods with herbs and spices. This is the same concept. Finish your grilled foods by brushing on your favorite brine.
We suggest any of the 8 LiveBrine pickle juice flavors that you think will match your meal especially. One of our grilling favorites is Aji Amarillo Pepper + Mango flavor, which adds a spicy and slightly sweet zing to your grilled foods. Another popular option is the Turmeric & Cracked Black Pepper, which compliments any grilled dish.
Other noteworthy brines to try are from The Garlic, The Onion or Spicy Kosher Dill Pickles as well as the brine from your Veggie Medley or Spicy Green Beans. These ferments are some of our more seasoned products, so their brines are flavor packed! The brine flavors will surely add that perfect finishing touch to your grilled feast.
2. Zesty Flavor Accents
Gone are the days where you serve a piece of grilled meat, potato and corn at your picnic. That's boring and now you have a variety of fermented foods in your fridge to use.
Fermented vegetables can be a perfect pairing with meats. They add a nice acidity that balances the richness of the meat.
Chop your favorite fermented vegetables and add them to your burgers, hot dogs, steaks or even seafood. Don't be afraid to try something new like Muffuletta Olive Mix on your burger, or Butter Olives on you hotdog.
And, of course, don't forget to add Kimchi (ours is made without the use of fish sauce or fish oil)-- the options truly are endless.
3. Use Skewers
Got kids? Our kids love putting olives on their fingers, making funny faces with the food on their plates and kids of all ages love a pickle on a stick. So why not add ferments to your summer plates by using skewers to bring them all together in a fun and easy way!
Skewer up some olives and sliced pickles to make little appetizer kabobs the kids will love.
4. Ferments are The Very Best Side Dish
You don't have to just "garnish" your food with your fermented vegetables anymore.
We like to say, "think side dish."
Your family is going to love when you add a big bowl of Red + Ginger Kraut or Dill Pickle Kraut to the table and a bowl of The Horseradish Pickles all sliced up and served for them to scoop onto their plate just like any other side.
Cut pickles for your guest according to may different ways: halves, spears, coins or cubes (to emulate relish) and start a conversation with your guest about their favorite way to slice pickles.
Fermented Okra or our Veggies Medley?? Yes please!
Add bowls of these ferments to your tables and let your guests help themselves to new flavors. Drizzle some olive oil over any of the ferments to savor them up a bit.
5. Fermented Foods: The Missing Salad Ingredient
Fermented food also makes an excellent addition to salads. Once you try it you may wonder why you haven't had them before!
Simply toss them in between a bowl of grilled meats, fresh vegetables and greens, and you'll have a gut-friendly salad that's sure to impress.
Try our Summer Pasta Salad, an outdoorsy, barbecue friendly salad with mayo-free dressing.
6. Dips, Dressings and Sauces - oh my!
We love a good dipping sauce. You can throw out those old school dips and dressings and make healthy, nutrient dense homemade versions such as Ranch, Caesar, and Chimichurri with our LiveBrine probiotic pickle juice.
Looking for the perfect dip to make? We've created 19 recipes using our ferments just for you. Whip up one in as little as 5 minutes and bring even more ferments to the party. You cannot go wrong with an Aji Amarillo Buffalo hot sauce on that grilled chicken! Grab your recipes here.
7. Serve up the Perfect Cocktails & Mocktails
No matter how you serve up your fermented veggies, be sure to mix up a refreshing drink to wash it all down.
Nothing is more crisp or thirst quenching on a hot summer day, than a Blue Lemon Drop Mocktail or an Orange Beet Crush. We wrote the guide, and with 20 different pickle juice drink recipes to chose from, you've got so many options. Which one will you chose?
Wildcard: Pickle Juice as a Marinade
Time and time again, we get asked if you can marinade meat using our brine. Of course you can, but here's what you need to know.
A salt water brine marinade will add flavor and tenderize the meat. We've experimented with this ourselves, brining our holiday bird which resulted in the tenderest, most flavorful turkey meat we've ever eaten.
If you're going to use fermented pickle brines as a marinade, just be aware that when you do this you will not be getting the probiotic benefit from them. That's because heating fermented foods or brines will kill all that good guy probiotic bacteria.
Lactobacillus bacteria will remain live in temperatures ranging from below freezing up to 143 degrees F. In fact the temperature to pasteurize a food is 144 degrees F, which kills bacteria. For temperature context, “lukewarm” is ~95 degrees F and a hot bowl of soup is 180 degrees F.
If you're going to use brines as a marinade, we suggest ALSO adding them at the end to your cooked dish, utilizing them as a flavor-add and probiotic boost. Brushing brine onto cooked meats and grilled veggies right before serving them is a great salt replacement.
If you want to kick up your BBQ flavor profile by marinading your chicken, steak or fish in LiveBrine Pickle Juice, know that you will have a flavorful product, that's for sure, but the probiotics will be lost. It doesn't mean you can't do it... we just want you to know the facts.
What are the health benefits of fermented veggies?
Lacto fermented veggies are a powerhouse of nutrients and live enzymes. They're also rich in lactic acid, beneficial bacteria-- natural probiotics that support gut health, boost the immune system and can even improve digestion.
We explain the full list of amazing attributes of 7 Top Health Benefits of Fermented Foods in this article. It's worth a read so you know just how impactful these foods truly are to your overall health and well being.
Are you ready to bring fermented foods to your summertime grilling?
Our gut healthy friends know: no summer grill is complete without some fermented veggies. Not only are they a delicious and healthy addition, but they also add some variety to your meals.
So, skip the boring corn on the cob and spice things up with some pickles, sauerkraut and fermented vegetables. SHOP NOW.
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