Former Beaver employee authors book on fermented foods

Penn State Beaver alumna Jill Ciciarelli is the author of “Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods.” The book, which was published in August by Victory Belt Publishing, is on sale in the Beaver campus bookstore and through other retail outlets, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

The book is the first written by Ciciarelli, who graduated from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1997. A resident of downtown Pittsburgh, she is a holistic health coach and the founder and owner of First Comes Health. In addition, she is an Italian language teacher.

Ciciarelli decided fermentation would be the focus of her first book because it’s a centuries-old craft practiced by traditional cultures in all parts of the world. Fermenting food is a creative and inexpensive way to enhance the nutritive properties of foods, according to Ciciarelli, and an excellent way to introduce new flavors into one’s diet.

“The book provides you with the basic techniques of fermentation and allows you to become comfortable with how to ferment anything,” Ciciarelli said. “You can explore the foods in the region where you live. Those foods can include meat, beverages, dairy, coconut products, condiments, dressings, cocktails, and mocktails. Fermentation is a great way to incorporate healthy probiotic foods into your diet to maximize the nutrition of those foods you already love to eat.”

After graduating from Penn State Behrend, Ciciarelli worked at Beaver campus for several years, first as an assistant in the Office of Campus and Community Relations, then as an admissions counselor. She also studied Italian in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information about fermented foods or the book, contact Ciciarelli at, or visit

Last Updated September 05, 2013