Joni Sare, cooking instructor

Sour foods to use in a paleo diet

Adding a bit of sour in a dish will add to its complexity, adult savviness and lasting memories.

When it comes to paleo, and I mean the real deal, there’s nothing much else to use except for what you can pick from a tree. So, here’s a list of pick-able sour foods, and a list of not-so-paleo foods.

Sour taste comes from acidic flavors

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • kumquats
  • grapes
  • tamarind

TIP: any sweet flavor added to the dish will reduce the sour punch, so — extracted citrus juice is more sweet, less sour … and… citrus pulp and rind will have more sour (the rind having more bitter, as well).


  • Preserved lemons (uses high amounts of salt, which would not be considered paleo)
  • Mock preserved lemons, the fastest making preserved lemons, ever. Click here to learn how to make’m.





Fermented Foods

Fermented foods would require some knowledge of preservation and microorganisms, which the paleo folk just didn’t have. These around-the-world foods include:

  • vinegar
  • pickles
  • wine
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • shrimp paste
  • dairy foods such as:
    • yogurt
    • kefir
    • sour cream
    • creme fraiche
    • cottage cheese
    • buttermilk
  • bread (sourdough)
  • fish (lutefisk)
  • natto (fermented soy bean)
  • poi (taro root)
  • kanga pirau (corn)


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