There are few foods simpler to make than lacto-fermented condiments like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, beets, carrots, ginger….the list goes on. Most vegetables can be tastily fermented using lacto-fermentation methods–and its simpler than you might think. All you need is some salt and a glass jar and you’ll be on your way to fermentation paradise.
Why lacto-fermented?, you might ask. Here is a super-informative excerpt from the Weston A. Price Foundation article on Lacto-Fermentation:
“It may seem strange to us that, in earlier times, people knew how to preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machines. This was done through the process of lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. These lactobacilli are ubiquitous, present on the surface of all living things and especially numerous on leaves and roots of plants growing in or near the ground. Man needs only to learn the techniques for controlling and encouraging their proliferation to put them to his own use, just as he has learned to put certain yeasts to use in converting the sugars in grape juice to alcohol in wine.”
That said, here is the main technique for starting a lacto-fermentation process:
1. First, wash and cut up your fresh vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add salt.
3. Next, pound the veggies with a wooden pounder or massage them with your hands for 5 to 10 minutes to help them release their juices.
4. Then, press the veggies firmly into an air tight container (I prefer glass) and store for 3 to 7 days on the counter (some recipes may call for a longer fermentation). You can taste them throughout the process to see when they are fermented to your liking, as the flavors will change and develop over time.
5. Once they are ready, they can be stored in the refrigerator for months, continuing to develop flavor as time passes!
Sounds simple? It is! Here are some links to my favorite recipes to get you started!
Homemade Sauerkraut from Nourished Kitchen
Grated Ginger Carrots from Cultures for Health
Homemade Lacto-Fermented Ketchup from Nourished Kitchen
Lacto-Fermented Mayonnaise from Cheeseslave
Beets & Turnips by GNOWFGLINS
Happy fermenting! Stay tuned for upcoming articles with recipes of my own unique lacto-fermentation favorites!