Is Supermarket Yogurt Really Alive?

I’m now into making fermented vegetables on a regular basis as they are so good for gut health. Once they are fermented I keep them in the fridge and we have a small portion at lunchtime each day to add friendly bacteria to our diet.

The first fermented vegetables I made worked brilliantly. It was summer and warm so I just left them out on the worktop and overnight they became homogenised and all the same colour and tasted really good. In winter I wrap them in a towel and place them in a cool box with a hot water bottle. To create the ferment to add to the vegetables, I use yogurt sieved through a muslin to obtain the whey. This is a dairy product but as I only use 4 tablespoons of the whey and a jar of fermented veg lasts me months I’m fine with that tiny amount of dairy. Perhaps those who are severely intolerant to dairy would need to find a dairy free alternative.

When it came to making my second batch I had forgotten whose yogurt I had used and so I picked the most natural sounding one from the supermarket shelves. Disaster, my fermented vegetables just sat there unchanged. I tried another batch with a different yogurt and still nothing happened. In the end I came to the conclusion that lots of supermarket yogurts are heated to kill the bacteria to stop them turning sour. I may be wrong but something was happening. Since then I have used a local sheep’s yogurt and we are back in business, but it made me question the health benefits of supermarket yogurts.