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Utah State University Extension

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Fermenting foods is perhaps the oldest food preservation method and has grown in popularity in recent years due to their touted “gut,” probiotic, and other additional health benefits. Fermenting at home is an inexpensive way to control what goes inside your food. Fermentation is the process of “good” microorganisms fermenting sugars and nutrients in food to produce byproducts (acids) that usually preserve the food in some manner. For example, milk is fermented to produce acids that create cheese, yogurt, and other products. In most cases, fermentation alone cannot produce a shelf-stable (room temperature) food product. Nearly all fermented foods require canning to preserve or refrigeration. Do-it-yourself blog posts have erupted all over the internet with varying methods that can lead to potential exposure to harmful pathogens due to a lack of proper pH, temperature, and time monitoring. In this fact sheet, the authors review fermentation requirements, identify some foods to ferment, and provide recipes to try the fermentation process safely.

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