Written by Mindy, Contributing Writer

Probiotics are a great way to keep your digestive system working properly.  Lots of people take probiotics in pill form, but I love getting in as many probiotics as I can through my food and drinks.

What are the best foods to eat to fill your body up with all of those beneficial probiotics?  Cultured and fermented foods!  They are full of probiotics, and they are easy to make yourself at home.

Here are six different cultured foods that you can easily make at home to help your family have a steady supply of probiotics.

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is probably the most well-known cultured food in our society.  The problem with most varieties that you find in the store is the fact that they are filled with artificial flavors and tons of sugar.

The solution?  Make yogurt yourself at home!  It’s really very simple, and there are several different methods that you can try.  Pick the one that seems the easiest to you!

Homemade Slow Cooker Yogurt (this is the method that I use)

Homemade Stovetop Yogurt

Homemade Countertop Yogurt

Photo Credit

2. Milk Kefir

Milk kefir is similar to yogurt.  It is not as thick as yogurt, and has a slightly more sour taste.  It makes a wonderful base for smoothies!

To make milk kefir, you simply put kefir grains in a jar of fresh milk and let it culture at room temperature for around 24 hours.  When it is done, strain the grains from the kefir and repeat the process.

Here is a detailed tutorial on making milk kefir, and here is a great source for obtaining milk kefir grains.

3. Water Kefir

Water kefir is a sweet, fizzy beverage that is very easy to make at home.  The process for making water kefir is similar to that of making milk kefir.

To make water kefir, you begin with a sugar water mixture that you add water kefir grains to.  You then let it sit at room temperature for around 24 hours.  During this time the grains eat most of the sugar and leave you with a delicious water kefir.  Then you simply strain out the grains and repeat the process for a daily supply of fresh water kefir.

Many people find water kefir helpful for giving up soda pop.  It is a healthful beverage besides water that you can enjoy without all of the sugar and chemicals found in pop.  Instead of those nasty things, it’s full of probiotics!

Here is a detailed tutorial on making water kefir, and here is a good source for getting your own water kefir grains.

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4. Kombucha

Kombucha has a special place in my heart.  Our whole family loves kombucha, and we really enjoy the process of making it together as a family.  We lovingly refer to it as boocha, which is the name given to it by our son.

If you have never tried kombucha before, it may require a bit of time to aquire a taste for it.  Depending on how long you ferment (or culture) it for, it can be a bit tart.  We like ours to be more on the sour side, and we love flavoring it with different fruit flavors.

There are two different methods for making kombucha.  The continuous brew method and the standard brew methodWe started using the continuous brew method earlier this year, and it is definitely our favorite.  This is the jar that we use (and love!) to brew our kombucha, and here is a detailed explanation for using the continuous brew method.

To obtain a SCOBY for making kombucha, you can purchase one, get one from a friend, or make one yourself from a store bought bottle of kombucha.

5. Sourdough

Sourdough seems to be intimidating to many people, but once you get the hang of it, it’s simple!  We love using our sourdough starter to make bread, waffles, pancakes, and all sorts of other yummy goodies.

To get started with sourdough, you will either need to make your own sourdough starter or buy one.  Once your sourdough is thriving, you will get into a rhythm of caring for it and then you will be making lots of yummy sourdough goodies to enjoy.

Here are some easy (and delicious) recipes to get you started.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Whole Wheat Sourdough Biscuits

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

If you’re still looking for more recipes, I own and love this Sourdough from A to Z book.  It is loaded with sourdough recipes that I use over and over again.

6. Lacto-fermented Vegetables

I don’t have a lot of experience with lacto-fermented vegetables, but I have loved everything that I have been able to make up to this point.  I am excited about using lacto-fermentation to preserve a lot of our garden bounty in the upcoming year.

Here are a list of simple lacto-fermented veggies for you to try yourself.

Lacto-Fermented Salsa (this is delicious!)

Lacto-Feremented Pickles

Simple No-Pound Sauerkraut

Lacto-Fermented Dilly Beans

Do you make any cultured foods at home?  What are your favorite ways to get more probiotics in your diet?

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