I’m relatively new to lacto-fermenting, but I’m enthralled and sold all at the same time! Our ancesters of the past fermented many types of food to help with preservation, but little did they know that the health benefits were many! The more I learn about fermenting the more I’m convinced that it will benefit me and my family!
Some of the popular ethnic foods include sauerkraut from Europe, Kimchi from Korea, pickled green tomatoes and peppers from Russia and Poland and pickled relishes, pickles, chutneys and watermelon rinds from the USA.
I had tried a few recipes in the past, but never really was very “into” it if you know what I mean! I’ve since been leant [amazon_link id=”B00276HAWG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Nourishing Traditions[/amazon_link] (I know, I mention it all the time) and I’m LOVING all of the recipes I’ve found for fermenting. Last week I made some Kimchi and this week we are trying some sauerkraut and mayonnaise! I’ve fermented mayonnaise before and loved the results, but it used a lot of sesame oil, which we have since found out shouldn’t be in Brian’s diet… yet another thing to remove! So, I was on the hunt for a new fermented mayonnaise recipe. Other products I’d like to try making are ketchup, mustard, vegetable chutneys, ginger carrots, pickled cucumbers, onions and beets, different types of relishes, salsa, preserves and marmalade.
The basic process is that as the bacteria lactobacilli starts to proliferate it creates lactic acid which is a natural preservative. Lactobacilli are present on most fruits and vegetables especially those that grow close to the ground. It is a bacteria that will naturally grow and preserve food via it’s by-products as long as it is monitored and correctly managed.
It usually takes 2-4 days for the right amount of lactic acid to be produced in order to preserve the vegetable or fruit. After that amount of time the food should be stored in a cool dry place. A root cellar was the spot of choice in time past, but the refrigerator works as well.
These foods will last for months in a cool dark climate and the flavors mature and ripen with age. Sauerkraut for example is finished fermenting in 2-4 days and can be eaten right away, but will taste better the longer it is stored… around 6 months.
Also when fermenting is it wise to add whey during the preparation. (see post on crackers and yogurt cheese to learn how to make your own.) Whey contains a lot of lactic acid and speeds the fermentation process. If you don’t have any whey to add then adding additional salt will do the job, but it will take longer to ferment and it won’t last as long. When I made kimchi I didn’t add any whey and it took about 1 week to ferment completely. Now with the sauerkraut I did add whey and it should be done tomorrow on day #3.
By lacto-fermenting foods it makes digestion easier and increases vitamin levels. Other by-products of the bacteria include beneficial enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. It also helps the normal flora in the intestines.
I’m excited as I continue to learn more about lacto-fermentation and the health and wellness it will impart to our family.
Here is a quick and easy recipe we had this week which we all really enjoyed! Since we no longer eat grains, sandwiches aren’t an option, but we really miss them! We tried breadless reubins and they really turned out great!
Lacto-fermented sauerkraut or kimchi
Thinly sliced meat – turkey, pork, roast beef, etc
Thousand Island dressing (I will include a recipe for this in the future, can use store bought as well)
Spread sauerkraut or kimchi on oven safe dish or plate, next layer meat, cheese and sprinkle desired amount of caraway seeds over it. Heat in oven until sauerkraut is warm and cheese has melted. Add dressing to the top and enjoy!