Succeed with your own lacto-fermentations
Lacto-fermentation, unlike sterilization, preserves foods while increasing their nutritional value. This natural process has existed for a very long time, it is one of the first to have been developed.
Salt and lack of air (because foods are pressed) develop lactic acid that increases with time – when the pH reaches about 4 – the production of bacteria stops, allowing a long shelf life of food.
Lacto-fermented vegetables have more aroma and taste, facilitate digestion and help fight intestinal problems and contain more vitamins. They are excellent during the winter, for example, cabbage once fermented contains twice the vitamin C.
Basic method for lacto-fermentation – Ingredients
Method and preparation
1.Wash the cabbage, after removing the outer leaves
2. Cut into thin strips with a sharp knife or use the food processor. It must be done quickly to minimize the loss of vitamin C.
3. In a glass or sandstone jar with large opening, remove 5 cm (2 in.) of cabbage. Pack it with a pestle to remove the air (anaerobic fermentation) and soften it to extract water.
4. Salt lightly. Add some juniper berries. Repeat the addition of cabbage, salt and juniper berries without forgetting to pack, and so on to the edge. The cabbage must bathe in its juice.
5. Do not close the jar tightly to prevent it from bursting because during fermentation, carbon dioxide is emitted.
6. Place the pots in a container because during the fermentation process, a little liquid can escape.
7. Leave to ferment for 2 to 3 weeks at 15˚ (60˚F). Do not exceed 18˚C (65˚F), even if the fermentation is hotter than it is hot.
8. After a few weeks, there are no more bubbles coming up to the surface. You can then close the pot tightly and keep it in a cold room or in a refrigerator for several weeks.
For a longer conservation
Make sure the vegetables are in their juice. If it is lacking, make a brine with 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of sea salt per liter (4t) of water and add it to the pot before closing it tightly.
Prepare lacto-fermented beets either grated (same process as sauerkraut) or sliced or whole (if very small) in the brine. A great taste!
Try also lacto-fermented carrots: a delight.
Venture to compose quite delightful mixtures: carrots, cabbages, turnips, apples …
Remember to use sauerkraut or other lacto-fermented vegetables, it’s a plus on the menu!
Article written by Renée Frappier – Nov. 01, 2010
Renée Frappier is an author, speaker and founding president of Maxam Editions and “Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert” and co-founder of “Association Manger Santé Bio”.