21 May 2018

Bonnie De Gros: beginner's guide to fermentation

From Nine To Noon, 11:33 am on 21 May 2018

Fermented foods helped ease Bonnie De Gros's gut pain and anxiety, but it wasn't until they improved her son's health that she became "hard into" their benefits.

The Rusty Skillet food blogger shares her recipes for cheap and easy sauerkraut and coconut yoghurt.

Bonnie De Gros - The Rusty Skillet - Coconut Yogurt

Bonnie De Gros - The Rusty Skillet - Coconut Yogurt Photo: Supplied

When a friend recommended Bonnie try fermented foods – food which has been cultured by microbes – seven years ago, she says she'd had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and anxiety for as long as she could remember.

Introducing foods like raw fermented sauerkraut into her diet took away gut pain for the first time in her life and improved her mood, Bonnie says.

"[Eating them led to] this calm, stable mental space where I was unflappable, I was like 'This isn't me', you know? I can be a real up-and-down person."


Photo: Flickr user athena / CC BY 2.0

Bonnie's eldest child had six years of doctors appointments and specialist visits for eczema and digestive issues before she began to explore whether the dietary additions which had been so beneficial to her could maybe help him, too.

A health practitioner gave her advice on how to introduce fermented foods and nutrition supplements into her son's diet.

Soon after, his skin started clearing up and his bowel movements normalised, she says.

"I went 'Whoa, what we put in our guts has such an impact on our immune system and our daily functions and our mental health'."

The process of making sauerkraut takes some time to master, Bonnie says.

Be patient with yourself and don't be afraid to ruin a batch or two... or three.

"It takes intuition, and that intuition is something that doesn't come straight away."

If something is repeatedly going wrong, try and figure out what it is.

Temperature, light, and mould spores can affect your sauerkraut – especially if your house isn't fully insulated.

"If you're fermenting and you're continuously getting mould forming on top, often it's a sign that there's just a lot of mould present in the environment."

Raw Fermented Sauerkraut
Coconut Yoghurt

Related links:
Sweet ideas for sauerkraut
Can you eat your way to better gut health?
Fermented comfort food