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Marinade, Pickled, Fermented Foods. Want to know the difference?

Riddle me this? Not all pickled foods are fermented, and not all fermented foods are pickled. Want to know the difference?


At a Glance


Marinade ✨ a quick method to tenderize food. For example, this carrot ribbon salad pictured was marinated in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, turmeric, and cumin, then tossed with parsley and almonds and served within an hour.⠀
Pickled ✨ Pickling is a general term referring to various ways of preserving foods in an acidic medium. In many cases, that acidic medium is vinegar. ⠀
Lacto- Fermentation ✨ is a specific process of submerging the vegetable into an anaerobic condition to produce lactic acid.  Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, hence giving its unique name “Lacto-fermentation.” During fermentation, the starches and sugars in the food are converted into lactic acid by the bacteria lactobacilli. Lactic acid production is what gives fermented foods their unique sour smell and flavor. The fermentation process also makes them so beneficial to our microbiome, making it an original superfood.

The Magic of Marinades


The marinade is a quick method to tenderize food.  A good marinade makes food tasty, juicy, and healthier. A good marinade contains flavorings, spices, herbs. Because a marinade is also acidic, it carries these flavors into foods. The acids in a marinade act to break down fibers in raw vegetables and protein chains in meats, making food more tender.

Raw vegetables like this carrot salad were marinated in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, turmeric, and cumin for an hour to help break down vegetable fibers that ease our digestive while enhancing the flavors and texture of vegetables.  It is a lovely technique for summer picnics as it also helps preserve your food.


Marinated Carrot Ribbon Salad 


  • 1 lb Mulitcolored Carrots
  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil @ kyoord.com
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablesoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat -leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted
  • 1/2 cup toasted and crushed almonds
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper

Using a frim bristled brush, scrub carrots in a bowl of cold water.  Drain and dry with tea towel. Using a mandoline carefully shave carrots lengthwise into thin ribbons. Set aside in a bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, cumin seeds,  and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add marinade dressing to carrot ribbons and toss well.

You can refrigerate up to 1 hour or overnight.  When ready to serve add coarsely chopped parsely and almond silvers. Serve the carrot salad chilled or at room temperature.


The health benefits of Marinating meats in acidic compounds such as wine, vinegar, or citrus juice inhibit the formation of AGEs. However, advanced glycated end products are potentially harmful compounds that may contribute to chronic disease and are produced in large amounts under certain cooking conditions, especially when animal-derived foods are cooked with high heat like barbecues.

For example, chicken marinated for an hour in a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar will produce fewer than half the AGEs when cooked compared to meat not marinated.


Pick your Pickles Wisely


Pickling is a general term referring to various ways of preserving foods in an acidic medium. In many cases, that acidic medium is vinegar to achieve a delicious, tangy result that changes the food’s taste and texture. It also involves heat, which serves to destroy and inhibit the growth of any microorganisms.  It’s another cooking technique that elevates any ordinary meal with taste and nutrition.

There are some areas of overlap between pickling and fermenting that can easily spark some confusion.


Fun with Fermentation


And so our final technique of Fermentation is rather a specific process of submerging the vegetable into an anaerobic condition to produce lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, giving its unique name “Lacto-fermentation.” when foods are fermented, the sour flavor results from a chemical reaction between a food’s sugars naturally present bacteria — no added acid required. And even though vinegar is a fermentation product, pickled foods are not fermented by default, as they don’t produce the same probiotic and enzymatic qualities of fermented foods.

And that is the significant difference between the two and what makes fermentation beneficial to our microbiome, making it an original superfood!

For more in depth information on Lacto – Fermentation read more HERE.The Value of Fermented Foods: how to use food to solve contemporary health problems

Now that you know the difference in these cooking techniques – which one will you try in your culinary adventures?  Either one of them will bring taste and nutrition to your daily meals. Let me know how it goes and bon appetit – thank you for joining me today.

Ready to introduce your palate to the taste of good health?

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