Lacto-Fermented Sloppy Joe

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist September 6, 2012

In my experience, fermented food is one aspect of Traditional Diets that is difficult to consistently incorporate into family meals with young children in the home.

Fermented beverages aren’t too difficult as they are typically tasty, fizzy and delightful.

Probiotic rich, digestion soothing fermented foods, on the other hand, are a completely different animal for children to accept.  The inherently sour and sometimes tart flavors seem to overwhelm their young taste buds and turn them off even in the small, condimental amounts used by Ancestral Societies.

I’ve had better luck over the years getting creative when a brickwall is firmly erected rather than trying to force the issue.

There is no doubt that Sloppy Joe is one of the most beloved recipes of all time for children and in our home, I make it with grassfed beef and lacto-fermented ketchup to sneak it into the children’s dinner in an enjoyable way that they don’t mind at all.

The trick is to add the lacto-fermented ketchup at the end (click here for an easy video how-to or click here for the written recipe) so that it isn’t actually cooked and therefore retains all the beneficial probiotics and enzymes once served at the dinner table.

Try this recipe if you’ve been encountering obstacles introducing digestion enhancing fermented foods to your family. This is one dish they won’t complain about at all!

Lacto-Fermented Sloppy Joe 

lactofermented sloppy joeIngredients

1lb grassfed ground beef
1 small organic onion
1 clove organic garlic
2 Tbl butter from grassfed cows
½ teaspoon sea salt
â…› teaspoon finely ground black pepper
½ -1 cup lacto-fermented ketchup (use a full cup if you want a soupier consistency to the Sloppy Joe)
½ cup organic peas (optional)
¼ cup organic raisins (optional)

Instructions

Melt butter in frying pan on medium-high heat.  Add onion finely chopped and cook until it begins to caramelize (5-10 mins).

Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly – stir intermittently for 3 minutes to ensure garlic is cooked but not burned.

Add ground beef mixing in as you go to be sure it doesn’t clump in the heat.  Stir continuously for 5 minutes to ensure meat mixes evenly with onion and garlic and begins to simmer uniformly across the whole pan.

Add optional peas and reduce heat to medium-low for 5 minutes to finish cooking all meat.

Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Stir in lacto-fermented ketchup (and raisins if desired) and mix thoroughly.  Make sure the pan is off the heat – allow to sit for 5 minutes more while still warm but not hot to mix the flavors.

Serve immediately over sourdough buns or alone as desired.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

 

Comments (53)

  1. Hey Sarah,
    I have 6 children. The last 3 of which were raised eating plain yogurts, kraut juice and such from a very young age (first foods sorta thing) and they all LOVE fermented veggies; especially my youngest. Pickled beets are her absolute favorite. So if you start a baby on sour things they are more likely to not just tolerate, but LOVE fermented veggies. Beets are a very easy intro since they are naturally sweet. All of my kids like fermented veggies though.
    My husband and I just sit amazed sometimes at the things they will eat. When my mother came to visit (who has a strong sweet tooth) she kept mentioning how everything we ate was so sour (our salad dressing, our smoothies – so I added stevia to her portion). I just laughed. None of us even consider the sourness. Funny how our taste buds can change.

    Reply
    • My five children (presently 3 yrs to 10 yrs) also love fermented veggies so much that I usually cannot keep a jar of anything from being consumed the moment it is out of the fridge and placed on the table- sliced broccoli stems, yellow and green string beans, sauerkraut, pickling cukes, beets, zucchini, etc…. They love it all. They also love to drink the brine, and I give brine whenever they seem like they are not as well as usual. Of course they also love kombucha. I have also lacto-fermented beef and eggs, and ketchup and salsa, which are beloved as well. Our first fermentation was sauerkraut- 7 years ago- and they all loved it right away, and whenever I have added something new, they have loved that as well. It is, from my experience, not a given that young children do not enjoy lacto-fermented foods. =)

      Reply
  2. Dear Sarah,
    Could you please recommend a brand of sourdough buns? I use buns from Berlin Natural Bakery but they are not sourdough…
    Thanks!!

    Reply
  3. Great idea! Something I also do to add to the benefit, is add a bit of liver to all ground beef recipes. The kids don’t even notice the flavor and I feel better that they have some organ meat in their diet.

    Reply
  4. You did an article on how to soak cornmeal in dolomite. You mentioned a follow up on doing your corn bread recipe. I am unsure what to do with the soaked cornmeal once it is wet. I really would love to see how you make cornbread.
    Thanks,
    Kim.

    Reply
    • Glad you mentioned this. I’ve been wanting this recipe too! I just bought some corn to grind, but now I don’t know what to do with it! :)

      Reply
  5. Sorry I should have done that below the soaked corn article. Seeing this new recipe reminded me of how I am trying to wait patiently for this also.
    Kim.

    Reply
  6. Rachel Perry Hanses via Facebook September 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Ha, no, I have no problem. My kid inhales sauerkraut. She eats anything. She won’t drink raw cow milk though because “i dont like cow milk, it’s spicy!” okay?

    Reply
  7. I just don’t see how this is a “healthy” meal for our children – or anyone. Probiotics is not always a good thing – There are negative side effects to ingesting many of the various types of natural bacteria. In fact most of the negative issues with fermented items can easily be recognised while the heralded benefits of eating these live micro-organisms are still greatly in question.
    Secondly, all “live” organisms and their “probiotic” activity are made moot once exposed to heat. So at the end of the day, we’ve gone through all of this work (as easy as it is to make your fermented ketchup) to provide a “healthy meal”, and there are zero benefits to the meal afterall.
    The other issue is, our need (desire) to put so many different things into our youngs kids bodies all at once (or anyones). The ketchup alone has 8 different ingredients – a combination that would never be found anywhere in the natural world.
    Add those 8 ingredients to the rest of the recipe for sloppy joe which is 7 other ingredients and we now have 15 combined ingredients. Throw in the 3 or four used to make the bread buns, that’s 19. Add another 3 to whatever sidedishes go with this sloppy joe meal and then add 3 or 4 more to desert.
    So in one half hour sitting we have put into our childs belly (and ours) almost 30 different ingredients. That is not natural. And if it ain’t natural there is a good chance it might not be healthy. We confuse traditional with wholesome and the healthy and sound. This is misleading.
    We wonder why we have so many gastrointestinal issues – and more and more are occuring in our young kids. Too many ingredients at once. They may all blend together wonderfully from a taste perspective – but chemically, so many reactions are going on that the lay person isn’t aware of – and so many things that even the chemist can’t keep up with. And thats before it enters the body. Once it enters the body a whole other set of chemical reactions take place – it’s just not fair to your body’s system to do this.
    And yes they have a pill for this, including one you can take prior to eating your 30 ingredient meal – but now you’ve added a slew of other chemicals to join in on the intestinal free for all.
    You may suffer nothing after these meals – but as you all know, it’s the longer term effects, and the delayed reactions that we have to be concerned with.

    Reply
    • Um… what?

      First of all, Sarah did explicitly say NOT to heat this recipe after you add the ketchup, so the live cultures are not damaged.

      And second, where on earth is the evidence for anything you’ve just stated? What made you suddenly decide that there’s a limit on the diversity of foods you can consume at once, safely? Yeah, chemical reactions happen when you eat. It’s called digestion.

      While your assertion that we should be wary of ANYTHING remotely “unnatural” is ridiculously unsustainable and based on fantasy, I do think that if that’s your chosen approach to life, you might want to stop commenting on blogs.

      After all, commenting on blogs is evolutionarily novel, and might cause you to die. You know, in the long term.

      Reply
      • Jade, it’s not called digestion – it’s called indigestion. Those “Live” cultures are most likely dead due to other things in the “mix”. Heat is just one of many things that can kill live bacteria – it’s proteins, it’s enzymes. The list is long. You can google for your self the many things way before heat that can denature and degrade bacteria – and many of those things are in many of the food prep items, and food prep methods.
        I could also go into a whole diatribe about the multitudes of other non friendly bacteria that can “evolve” in the same jar, but I’ll spare you this fine saturday.
        What kind of evidence are you looking for? Evidence that speaks to the number of different chemical occurances that take place in the stomach after many american traditional meals? I could send you a dozen links if you really care to know – I’m assuming it was a rhetorical question in anger (why the anger we don’t know???)
        I can however reference you to your local Rite aid or any drugstore near you for hands on evidence – they have a whole entire section dedicated to the “what happens when you combine so many things”.
        For the record, so long as you know me (in this cyber type of way), I will always assert what I know to be completey steeped in “proof of chemistry” and wholly sustainable – as in we were sustained on this way of living and eating for seven million years. long before sloppy joes.
        If it seems like fantasy to you because you never heard this type of narrative or you are just more familiar with the usual swapping of supposedly healthy snack and meal tips , then that’s fine and so you can continue to read and follow what you wish to read and follow.
        My name is Oliver. When you see it you can skip it by and move on to something more pleasing to your sensibilities palate.
        BTW, what does having a chosen approach to life have to do with stopping or not stopping posting on blogs – kind of counterintuitive don’t you think…

        Reply
        • So can I assume, then, that your answer is “no”? You haven’t provided any evidence.

          From your other comments, it seems you might be very dedicated to a raw lifestyle, or something similar. That’s fine. Whatever floats your boat. But to then assert that everything one might eat that doesn’t conform to your beliefs is devoid of nutrients or otherwise harmful, without providing a shred of research – observational or controlled studies – is pretty laughable.

          If you will indulge me, however, I am very curious as to what you mean by “heat is just one of many things that can kill live bacteria – it’s proteins, it’s enzymes.” Yes, there are many types of proteins and enzymes in food, including fermented food. What is your point?

          Reply
          • Every other comment I have posted has me mentioning my love of burgers, bacon pasta etc. It’s not a matter of things conforming to my beliefs – I don’t speak of dogma, doctrines, cults or religion. I speak soley of chemistry.
            I can provide you research, but then would you change your mind? Would you stop eating cooked foods? If you want scientific evidence, studies done by chemists here in america you can go to the website of the American Chemists Society (ACS). They have a search engine – you can type in “Cooked food”. It will then provide you with roughly 7000 tests/studies that show what happens to molecules (nutrients -proteins, vitamins, amino acids etc.) under various heat conditions and treatments.
            They will also show you tests that show what new harmful toxins,pathogens, and carcinogens are created when heat is added to the equation. so many ot these things are damaging to our children – last nights air waves was a reminder of that with the all out cancer campaign.
            Much of the stuff is heady science speak with graphics that the average lay can’t recognise (western Blots). And secondly, these tests were done, some by the FDA, in that they could warn the public about false claims and false labeling; have you heard of them? No one has – they forgot to tell the public. They also forgot to tell the cereal companies (who have their own chemists). The cereal companies along with the bread companies still list false nutrient values on their products.
            If you like, I can show you a way of testing your bread at home to show you that it has zero biologic activity – even your seven grain organic bread.
            I am working on putting together a new reference chart for the average mom and pop in that they can see that a test was done on cereals for instance and that in fact the protein was damaged – by way of heat.
            I can recommend a strict chemistry book called “Introduction to protein structure” by Carl Branden. That stuff is heady as well but there are parts in it that one can understand such as when they speak of the natural short life of proteins and enzymes etc (2 to 3 weeks). It talks about all of the many things that can degrade proteins and enzymes (which are the bulk of what bacteria is.). Those things include many types of acids. A lot of which we use in our foods. Acetic acid for one is used in many food products – vinegar for one.
            Dimethyl sulfoxide is another naturally occuring chemical compound that is used in many of the foods we eat. That has an impact on amino acids. Ammonia, as we learned from pink slime, kills protein (and bacteria – the reason they used it in the first place – E-coli). There are a host of other chemical reactants
            There are other natural acids like lemons and high citrus fruits that can degrade proteins. Light can degrade a protein as well. Oxygen can degrade a protein. Other proteins mixing with each other can and will cancel some out.
            Salt has an impact, as well as other natural minerals – many of these combinations of minerals and other molecules are never found in the natural world.
            I don’t deal in the realm of observational or controlled studies – I have done many writings that speak against “studies”. No two people are alike – and by that very fact no two results can be alike – yet the drug industry chooses to cast a blind eye and a deaf ear to this fact of human biodiversity and continues to administer chemicals to people with all manner of side effects. And as you know, that “list” is growing every year. But so long as they do list them on their labels- they are not liable. That said, Pfizer is being sued more and more each year.

          • Oliver! Your comments on this blog are always intriguing.

            For the record, I understand the complexities of protein structure and what western blots are (gasp! I’ve performed three of them today!). For most other people: enzymes are proteins that have a very specific fold that orients certain amino acids into a position that is able to catalyze a chemical reaction. Proteins (and therefore enzymes) get denatured through heat/freezing/chemical reactions. However, your saliva and stomach produce proteases(chymotrypsin, etc) to degrade such protein. Also the high acidity in the stomach denatures proteins (except rare proteins that survive acidic environments, such as chymotrypsin). In fact, if you don’t cook/freeze food and the food contains some bacteria (homemade yogurt?), I would argue that some bacteria are the only things that could possibly survive your stomach acid (especially e.coli). Also, the structure and folding of a protein is really fickle, they misfold easily and are susceptible to many chemical insults. Our cells have multiple pathways to deal with misfolded proteins, so the occurrence of misfolding is really high.

            I guess my point is: enzymes and proteins aren’t stable in culture/buffer/water. They’re not going to survive your saliva or your stomach acid and proteases. I know that if I leave my purified protein out at room temperature, it will be completely misfolded and therefore useless in about ten minutes. My bacterial cultures will be fine. Also, the bacterial cultures that are created through fermenting contain the lipids and proteins you mention.

          • BRAVO for you Jenza!!!! Where have you been all of my life? No seriously, where have you been all of my posting on blogs life? Will you go on the road with me :)
            I’m going to steal your term “susceptible to many chemical insults” just to mix up my diatribe a bit. And yes, the nature of protein folding is fickle and the how and why of protein folding in itself is in many ways still a mystery – as advanced as science is.
            I am working on an even bolder protein concept as it relates to the food we eat. I don’t know if you know about the miller / urey experiment, where they created amino acids in a lab using simulated conditions if you will, of early earths atmostphere – complete with electrical charge.
            I am slowly of the opinion, which I am devloping for my book which hopefully will be out by mid to late winter, that it ain’t even about proteins which are fragile and fickle, but moreso about the amino acids – and get this (just a theory – don’t shoot me down) but it may not even be about these amino acids we eat – that perhaps it’s simply a matter of the body using what Miller’s apprentice and I have termed (independantly of course) Atom Soup. Atoms forming together by the various mechanations of the human body and all organic entities, to make everything we need. The body, like it creates vitamins through the combining of chemical elements, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen etc, so too it creates all our proteins and amino acids – obvioulsy in reverse order, amino acids first.
            This is an idea I am playing with right now, as I stay on line and post on various blogs (to annoy folks of course). The book is almost done but I went back to the section on proteins myth and hype, and started working on this, what many so far have said is a cocka mamie idea. Did i spell cocka mamie right???

            I would love to pick your brain off line – or at least bounce a few things off you – My email is ollie628 [at]gmail [dot] com It is one of my less important email addresses so I don’t really care if I get bogged with other posters (unless they care to discuss anything).

  8. Jensie Chetelat via Facebook September 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I really want to try this recipe, but AVG will NOT let me go to your site! Is anyone else having this problem?

    Reply
  9. Do you have problems making whey in the summer? I’m also in Florida and it’s too hot in my house to make whey. Doesn’t the temperature need to be around 70F in order to make whey?

    Reply
  10. My family loves Bubbies pickle relish and kraut and eat them with most every meal and have seen an amazing improvement in our digestion. I know they are not organic but both are raw and lacto fermented with only 3 ingredients, cabbage or cucumbers, water and salt. I’m scared to ask :), but am curious, what is your opinion of these? Are they OK? You haven’t mentioned them though they are widely available and affordable (and so tasty!) so I figure there must be something wrong with them.

    Reply
    • Bubbie’s pure kosher dills, dill relish, and pickled green tomatoes are listed in the 2012 Shopping Guide of WAPF under the “Good” category of lacto-fermented vegetables. It acknowledges that they are non-organic but are vegetables cultured with raw vinegar and so okay.

      Reply
      • Traci – The Acetic acid in the raw vinegar (or any vinegar) will degrade most if not all of the nutrient molecules in your vegetables including and especially proteins and amino acids.

        Reply
        • Bubbies does not contain any vinegar, raw or otherwise (it clearly says this on the label) and is traditionally lacto fermented using only salt and well water. Also, wouldn’t that mean you shouldn’t use raw apple cider vinegar?

          Reply
          • I use all types of vinegars- I don’t really sweat the details, because when i am in a certain cooking or eating mode I don’t get caught up in all of the molecular nutrient damage thing – I just enjoy the meal for flavor and texture.
            When I am in “Nutrient Damage” mode then yes, vinegars will impact negatively many nutrient molecules. If we want a “healthy” salad, for me that means raw elements – only. Lemons, wines, vinegars, and even the acidic tonmato can and will impact the other nutrient molecules.
            Anytime you do something to a raw entity, brining, pickleing, fermenting, steaming, frying, baking, marinating, dehydrating, curing, and a host of other ways to “preserve” something, you will invariably devalue the nutrient content. This will always be the case. Man and science can never enhance or augment a nutrient molecule or any whole food.
            A raison will have some nutrients but it won’t have the same as a grape, it won’t have as many either. The pickle doesn’t have a fraction of the wonderful things a cucumber has – and for health benefits, the cucumber is amazing.
            Throwing salt into any mix will always cause a chemical reaction (s), one that usually yields a less nutrient dense product.

    • Bubbies is a lifesaver. Its the only brand of sauerkraut that I will use if I’m all out of my homemade kind. Homemade is best but but Bubbies does a very good job.

      Reply
  11. @Rachel Perry Hanses. Oh Goodness. That is so adorable! It’s spicy? Kids crack me up.

    Yeah, seems like I’m one of the lucky moms. My boys ask for MORE fermented veggies, sometimes even after desert! Especially sauerkraut. In fact, my oldest hated vinegar pickles, but loved lacto fermented pickles right away! Makes it nice and easy for me!

    Reply
  12. Great recipe I am saving this one. I have not made ketchup yet, but plan to.

    I “hide” (by not telling them) the healthy stuff in our food, like milk kefir, and they don’t notice. My daughter will drink kombucha all day, but with my son, I have to mix it it with another beverage or food, he’s 11, she’s 7. She’s more inclined to like something because I do, but the boy just won’t cooperate so I have to be sneaky! He’s a skinny thing, but he lacks majorly in nutrition. (We’ve just recently been enlightened about real food in the last several months, wish I had learned about it before having kids.)

    Reply
    • Jessica, with all due respect to Sarah and you – there are no nutrients in the above meal. I am thin – and we shouldn’t confuse skinny with being malnutritioned – calories and nutrients are two different things.
      Now if your son is eating soda and chips all day there could be a problem – I suspect you don’t let him do that. I am sure he also likes at least one type of fruit (banana, pineapple, watermelon). Those have tons of nutrients in them.
      That tea does not. There is no vitamin – A, any of the B’s, C, D and on through Z that can withstand 212 degress of boiling water – if that is how your kombucha tea is made (as opposed to sun dried and the old camp method where the tea leaf leaches out it’s nutrients into a jug of water over a day or two at room temperature. This leaching process still kills off many vitamins – minerals can hang around in the water which will be drunk.
      Perhaps there is a fun salad or combo fruit and veggies salad that can provide real nutrients in a stealthy manner. Or a fruit and veggie smoothie. Raw nuts will provide good protein and good fats.
      That ketchup thing is so damaging to the dense amount of nutrients that a tomato has to offer originally. It’s a waste of fine tomatoes – and money if you can’t afford it and you need to nutrate your kids properly on a budget, which may not be the case for you but is the case for so many parents across this nation..

      Reply
  13. Sounds great! I can think of a number of dishes I could add this ketchup to, just before serving. I think pretty much any tomato based dish would work, like spaghetti. Very good tip!

    Reply
  14. I am not going to use this new fangled ketchup idea. It doesn’t sound great. I put fresh tomatoes on my pasta. With garlic and some basil and olive oil.

    Reply
    • This is the largest part of what I do. It is in part extended research, and getting the word out. My name is Oliver if you see it just don’t read what Oliver has to say. Annoying is a relative term.
      I will always “annoy” people when I speak to either what they may not know, be familiar with, or like. I can’t be too concerned with those who i annoy, if my genuine intent is not that at all. And I know the diference..
      There are so many annoying posts on this and every blog – even by the hosts. We move on, we be respective, we engauge and we are polite – and hopefully, we all learn. That’s why I’m here? What are you doing here? How is it you have time in the day to read something that annoys you and remark with ill will – what’s that about?
      If you disagree, that’s fine. You may be annoyed with my refusal to be felled by stats and links that say this that or another. As one of your fellow posters mentioned there is a link to make a case for evey argument. I tend not to deal in the world of links and studies and tests etc.
      I acknowledge chemical realities – both lab wise and in the natural world. Those things usually win out over “links”.
      Whatever it is that i do that annoys you, I am an old dog, and like you i probably won’t be able to change much – Actually I have grown over the years – why just last year this response could have be laced with all manner of vile, unnecesary comments. I have found that that truly can derail a thread – I am here to learn from others while sharing what I know – pretty much like everyone else – we’re all experts and critics here.
      If you don’t like or agree with me, that still is no need for mean remarks. I was having a spirited conversation with the other poster – it might have been contentious but we didn’t call each other names.

      Reply
  15. I agree. While I may not agree with everything Oliver has to say, I think he still has the right to speak his mind and share his ‘knowledge’ with this community without being called annoying :)

    Reply
  16. Hoy en día el vestido de línea de la marea es la clase de tipo dulce, vestido con un párrafo corto con chaqueta de sombrero de destello abajo, hará que la gente se sienta una estética elegante. Las personas con una falda de hojas de loto, a la temporada tranquila trae un ambiente juvenil similares.

    Reply
  17. Pingback: Fermented Tomato-Ground Beef

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