Lacto fermentation, in my opinion, is one of the healthiest forms of preserving food. But if you would like, you can check out some of the other amazing options such as: freezing, canning, or dehydrating instead 🙂
Fermented foods have played an important role in keeping people healthy for thousands of years. Although in somewhat recent years, money has outweighed health in priority for a lot of people, so the tradition has been somewhat halted.
Let’s take a look at why we need to bring lacto fermentation back into our homesteads and why fermented vegetables and other fermented foods may be one of your best choices for food preservation.
What is Lacto Fermentation?
Lacto-fermentation is the traditional process of putting vegetables (which naturally have the good bacteria lactobacilli on them) under a saltwater brine and letting them sit for a few days while the bacteria does a magical dance that produces some amazing health benefits while preserving the vegetables. The salt provides the perfect environment for good bacteria and provides an inhospitable environment for bad bacteria!
This process is what produces traditional probiotic rich, sauerkraut, kimchi, dill pickles and many other cultured vegetables. Best of all, it’s so easy, you don’t need expensive food or equipment and your left with a preserved product that will last at least nine months in a refrigerator or cool spot.
Benefits of Lacto Fermentation
- Cultured vegetables are full of powerful probiotics (good bacteria) which are important for a healthy immune system, digestive system, and urinary tract.
- This method of preservation starts breaking down the vegetables into their component parts making them much easier to digest.
- Vitamins, enzymes and probiotics are enhanced via lacto fermentation.
- Not only is vitamin C enormously enhanced, but the vitamins are made more bio-available, making cultured vegetables a very important super food.
In the book, Cultured Food for Life by Donna Schwenk….
- She states that cultured vegetables are great at controlling and eliminating candida overgrowth which causes many of the same symptoms as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Donna also states that her allergies were greatly improved by adding cultured foods to her diet on a regular basis. She attributes this to the high doses of vitamin C and anti-inflamitory properties.
- She has seen cultured food work wonders on colds and flus and fighting off all sorts of viruses and harmful bacteria.
- She even claims cultured foods got her through a bout of food poisoning!!
Lacto Fermentation is SO EASY.
All you need to do is:
- Chop up your veggies however you like them Eg:carrot sticks or rounds.
- Fill a quart mason jar with one teaspoon of high quality salt such as himalayan sea salt or celtic sea salt
- Add filtered or well water and mix it up.
- Submerge the vegetables in the salt water leaving a bit of space at the top of the jar.
- Loosely seal the jar making sure your veggies are fully under water and leave on your counter out of direct sunlight for 6 days.
- Check daily to make sure your veggies stay under water.
- Move to the fridge and store them for up to nine months!
- If you are doing vegetables like carrot sticks, you can usually cram them in so they will stay below the water. The veggies must stay below the water or they will mold and not ferment properly. If you are chopping them or can’t cram them in properly, use something to weight the veggies down while they ferment.
- If you want to add herbs like dill, fresh long pieces at the bottom work best. Dried herbs tend to float up to the top and mold.
- According to Cultured Food for Life mold can be scooped out and discarded. The remaining vegetables should be just fine.
The white plastic screw on lids work fantastic. I use them on all my mason jars for fermented veggies, infusions, leftovers, salad-in-a-jar (for lunches) etc. If you are looking for them, you can find them cheap here. They seem to be hard to find in stores as they either don’t carry them, or they always seem to be sold out.
If you would like to check out some other preservation methods, check out canning, dehydration or tips on freezing foods. Let’s help each other in the comments section below with questions, answers and fun recipes.