Let's Lacto-ferment

Updated: Aug 30

In my last post I mentioned that I was starting the season of Lacto-fermenting. It is usually a time that my counter gets completely lined up with many gallon size jars that are coming alive with probiotics and raw food becomes wonderful health power houses. So what is Lacto-fermenting and what are its benefits? For centuries it has been a way to successfully store food from growing season to growing season WITHOUT electricity or energy to pressure can. It is the ancient way of preserving and holding food, but not only does it "hold" the food it power packs it. It is said that during the great depression, plagues or famines, when there was no food or way to buy it, that it was the homes that had stored up by preserving with fermenting that not only survived, but thrived. Why? Besides the fact that you only need a cool dark place to store, the act of Lacto-fermenting creates wonderful probiotics which make our gut flora flourish, this in return creates a healthy immune system, which means it can fight off sickness more easily. In many cultures they eat these foods daily and guess what? They are not a sick culture, not like what the western civilization is. Lacto-fermenting causes the food to become more easily digestible because it has changed enzymes making it more bioavailable to be more easily absorbed. It also increases the vitamin content a lot! In most cases so much more then what you would have received from eating the raw fruit or veggie. Imagine that! You not only are storing your food, but you are increasing the nutritional content! When I first started to think about doing this, I have to admit, it seemed to simple to be true. I must have gotten some misinformation... salt water and veggies? really? Yes, really! I will tell you how I started because really it is fool proof and even though you don't need to follow this once you see how easy it is, it is a good way to take the thinking and questioning out of it. The first thing I did was to get a fermenting container. I chose to get a Fido jar, yes, this is a brand. I found mine online at crate and barrel or at the Christmas tree shops. There are lots of knock offs with the same latching top, but you want something that doesn't have lead and that will seal properly. You can also get a fermenting top that would fit on a canning jar. To start... I highly recommend one of the 2. Do I have to get a special jar or a top? NO, but if you are a beginner, I suggest it. In order for this to work properly NO oxygen must be allowed to touch the contents or it can create an environment for mold, which after all your effort, you do not want. How a fermenting jar works is that it creates a seal that will only let gas escape, but not come into the jar. when fermentation starts carbon dioxide is created and as it is created it is heavier than the existing oxygen in the jar. This causes the oxygen to get pushed up to the top of the jar away from the contents and if too much pressure gets built up the oxygen is pushed out thru the seal. This allows the jar to be able to release pressure as it ferments and gases build. If you do not have these, the risk of your jar exploding significantly increases as pressure builds, ESPECIALLY if you are like me and forget about doing things like that. If you choose to do it in a regular canning jar with canning lid it is totally doable BUT you need to make sure the contents stay submerged by using a weight or a big leaf and you HAVE to burp it regularly. Once you have your jar, sky is the limit to what you want to ferment! It is as easy as veggies, spices and brine! To ferment, I use 10 tablespoons of a GOOD mineral salt to 1 gallon of GOOD tap water. I would not use a town or public water for this. Mix and pour over your filled jar of veggies. You want to fill to the shoulder of the jar and you want to put it in something that if it bubbles over it will be contained. That is it! Store it in room temperature for about 1 week or maybe longer. It is all about taste. This recipe is a higher salt brine, but it makes for a sure ferment with no disasters. As they age the salt will disappear and you will be left with a yummy snack or addition to your dinner plate. I tend to store mine after for long term so this is not a problem for me. If you want to eat it right off, then you can lesson the salt in the brine. Just find a recipe to follow to make sure you use an appropriate amount. After fermentation is done you want to store them some place dark and cool. A root cellar or basement, even a refrigerator, although that is not very convenient. The gallon of carrots that we are snacking on now were done about 5 years ago and they are still so crisp and yummy! 5 years! I love the nourishing traditions cook book by Sally Fallon or Sandor Katz is another great author of fermenting information. https://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2014/01/the-health-benefits-of-naturally-fermented-foods.html


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