Fermenting vegetables has become an increasingly popular way to not only extend their shelf life, but also reap a host of wonderful health benefits from the probiotics and enzymes that are created during traditional fermentation. But knowing how to properly ferment your vegetables to keep them fresh can be tricky if you’re just starting out. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to ferment: the tools and equipment needed, the different ways to do it, things to consider when choosing ingredients, tips for success, storage tips, and more. Moreover !
Why choose lacto-fermentation?
Lacto-fermentation has been used for centuries to preserve food, and can be an incredibly beneficial technique for producing delicious fermented flavors in your kitchen. The method relies on lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which convert sugars naturally present in food into lactic acid, creating a powerful preservative that prevents food spoilage and also provides amazing health benefits.
BLs are responsible for the sour flavor of pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other preserved foods. In addition to preserving and flavoring foods, lacto-fermentation can improve the nutritional value of many foods through increased levels of vitamins B and C, as well as the probiotics produced during fermentation that can help to digestion. Studies have shown that lactic acid bacteria can even reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.
Additionally, lacto-fermentation is often considered one of the safest fermentation methods, as it only requires a few basics – salt, vegetables/fruits and water – making it accessible. virtually anyone, at home, with minimal cost and effort. It doesn’t require any special equipment or ingredients, so you don’t have to invest in an expensive starter culture or spend time finding inaccessible ingredients. With proper safety practices, such as using clean equipment and choosing fresh produce free of dirt or debris, lacto-fermentation is a safe option for those beginning to ferment their own foods at home.
The stages of lacto-fermentation.
For a successful lacto-fermentation, several steps are necessary to obtain the desired result.
Step 1: Choose foods high in natural sugar.
First of all, it is important to choose an appropriate type of vegetable for fermentation. Different vegetables have different levels of natural sugars, which will determine how well lactobacteria work during the fermentation process. It is better to choose vegetables with a high sugar content, such as cabbage and cucumber.
Step 2: Clean your food thoroughly.
Once the vegetables have been selected, they must be cleaned and prepared for fermentation. To do this, wash them carefully in cold water, then cut them into small pieces or grate them, depending on the desired texture. The pieces should be placed in a container with a lid that can be closed tightly so that no air can enter during the fermentation process.
Step 3: Create a brine solution.
To facilitate fermentation in an anaerobic environment, consider a brine solution. For this, combine salt (preferably unrefined sea salt) with filtered water or spring water to obtain a ratio of 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt per 400 ml of ‘water. This solution should then be poured over the vegetables until they are fully submerged. The lid of the container should then be firmly secured so that there is no chance of air entering or escaping during the process.
Step 4: Place your containers in the appropriate place.
Once this is complete, the container should be placed at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and left undisturbed for one to four weeks – depending on taste preference and temperature stability – while checking regularly that mold does not form on the surface of the liquid (if it does, it must be removed immediately). If the temperatures are stable and constant during this period, lacto-fermentation will occur; otherwise, other forms of deterioration may occur due to exposure to oxygen or other contaminants entering through any imperfection in the cover gasket.
After several weeks, it’s time for the tasting! Fermented vegetables should have taken on a sour flavor profile that indicates successful fermentation; if desired flavors are not yet present, allow more time to pass before tasting again until desired flavor profiles have developed (this may take up to six weeks). Once satisfied with the tasting results, place the finished product in the fridge where it can stay fresh for several months! Enjoy your food !