A Cultured Food Book for Every Fermenter


I began my fermentation journey around seven years ago with a new baby and the book Nourishing Traditions. That is when I slowly accepted that I could, in fact, put food on a counter top – not a refrigerator – and let it go through a natural process that would benefit my health.

Since then, I’ve read many of the books in this genre and have shared them with others who take an interest in this little hobby turned every day practice. Today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you. Included in this list are books for complete newbies, those interested in sustainability, and folks like me who find the historic and cultural role of cultured foods fascinating.

For the Person Looking to Make a Healthy Change

Cultured Food Life is written by someone who experienced a great change in her health when she began eating cultured foods. Donna Schwenk does a great job of combining her compelling story with great ways for everyone to eat more kefir, kombucha, and fermented vegetables.

For the Bread Baker

Wild Bread is an incredibly comprehensive sourdough baking book. It covers just about everything you’d need to know about the process of sourdough baking, as well as interesting and varied recipes for all palates.

For the Complete Newbie

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods might just be my most biased recommendation, but still legitimate in my book. I worked as the Technical Editor on this book, and while some of my own opinions on the best method for vegetable fermentation has changed, it is a great introduction to the basics of food fermentation.

For the Gardener/Preserver

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning may just be one of my favorite books on this topic. It is totally simple, straight forward advice from French farmers who have practiced fermentation for generations. It also includes other means of food preservation for those interested in dehydration, sugaring, and other means of food preservation.

For the History/Culture Buff

The Art of Fermentation is for geeks like me who love to read about food and domestic history as it applies to a variety of cultures. If you know someone who is interested in these topics, then this huge volume might just be for you.



Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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  1. Jerelle says

    Hi Shannon,
    I would like to hear more about “some of my own opinions on the best method for vegetable fermentation has changed.” I own this book. Some of my opinions have changed as well including not adding whey to vegetable ferments. I am interested to hear all about how your opinions have changed in this area.

    • says

      Jerelle – Adding whey is one that I’ve changed, though I can see a use for it. I also tend to emphasize submerging the vegetables more so than I used to and have more specific thoughts on salt and other things. I’ve been working on a small book covering the topic for a while now and maybe someday will finish. :)

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