This article considers the history of lacto-fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi, and the simple health advantages they have provided for many centuries. It notes that the only advantage so far proved—the preservation of vitamin C—is duplicated by most modern foods, even junk foods. It questions the vague evidence suggesting that lacto-fermented foods provide additional health advantages such as preventing heart disease and cancer, or aiding digestion and nutrition. It proposes that the centuries during which a vitamin C boost would have yielded a substantial health and mortality advantage have left us susceptible to a placebo effect worth billions to the nutritional industry. It concludes that, in the absence of any real evidence of miraculous effects, there remain good reasons to eat brined vegetables, not the least of which is simple pleasure. Two instructional recipes are included, one for sauerkraut and one for kimchi.

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