The Beginners Guide to Lacto-Fermentation
Fermentation is the process of good bacteria and yeast (like in yogurt) breaking down sugars and starches in the fermented food into lactic acid. Lacto-fermentation is an old method of preserving food to increase the shelf life.
Learn all about what lacto-fermentation works, the health benefits, how fermentation works, how long fermented foods last, and so much more.
Health Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation
Lacto-fermentation increases the vitamin and enzyme levels and makes food more digestible. Eating fermented foods is a great way to add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are gut healing bacteria that can boost your immune system, decrease inflammation, and decreases the risk of certain diseases.
What is Lacto-Fermentation
Lacto-fermentation is the process of useful bacteria or yeast that is already existing of the surface of all plants to break down the carbs and sugars into lactic acid.
How Does Lacto-Fermentation Work
You let the good bacteria or yeasts naturally found on your food multiply while using salt to kill the bad bacteria. The good bacteria grows at room temperature and will leave your food with a tangy flavor. To slow down the growth of the good bacteria or yeast you will need to store the food in a cool place like your refrigerator.
How Long Does Lacto-Fermentation Take
Depending on the temperature of your home and the food you are fermenting it could take any where from 12 hours to a couple of months.
How Long Does Fermented Food Last
Lacto-fermented food when done correctly and stored in the refrigerator or cool, dark space can last for months. Using your senses will help you tell if the fermented food is still edible. Look for signs of mold and mushiness, smell to see if it smells bad, and taste test it to make sure it is still good.
Foods That Can Be Fermented
There are many foods and beverages that can be lacto-fermented a few include:
- Water Kefir
- Milk Kefir
- Swiss Chard
Tools Needed for Fermenting Vegetables
There are various tools available to quickly and easily get started fermenting vegetables at home, some I use include:
But you could use a folded up cabbage leaf or a bag of rocks as a weight to hold the vegetables in the brine. You could also use a paper towel, tea towel, or cheese cloth with a rubber band around it to hold it on as a fermentation lid.
How to Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables
Each vegetable will ferment differently. Vegetables such as tomatoes and cabbage will sweat when combined with salt creating their own brine. Will vegetables such as carrots and peppers don’t sweat when combined with salt so they need a premade salt water brine.
You should try to eat 2 to 3 daily servings of lacto-fermented foods. What are some of your favorite fermented recipes? Let us know in the comments below.