The topic of pickled and fermented foods can be quite a confusing one. Are pickled foods also fermented?! Are fermented foods considered pickled?! Are they just fancy names for the exact same thing?!?!
Well guess what? It's actually a lot simpler than you think! Both pickling and fermenting were methods used to preserve food during times when refrigerators weren't readily available. Food preservation prolongs the time it takes for food to spoil - allowing food to have a longer shelf life. Today, we eat pickled and fermented foods for their health benefits and to add some unique qualities into our everyday diet.
When it comes to pickling and fermenting, the most significant characteristic separating the two is that one contains live cultures. Whether it be kombucha, yogurt, or kimchi, fermented foods will have live cultures, called probiotics, that fill your system with good bacteria. If you're a kombucha drinker or fermented food connoisseur, you'll know that probiotics help build up and strengthen your immune system, detoxify your body, and boosts your energy. But, that doesn't mean you should stay away from pickled foods! Although pickled foods don't possess those live cultures, they're a great addition to add some kick in your meals.
For those still curious, we've made a visual of the differences between pickled and fermented foods!