By Lynnie Stein / October 15, 2018

How to Ferment

We (humans) do not make fermentation.
Our job is to supply the best quality ingredients, containers and the right environment.
The rest / the magic is up to the fermenting fairies (the invisible organisms) / the mighty microbes!!!!
1. Ferment best quality, fresh vegetables at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and UV light.
2.  Make sure fermentables are ALWAYS submerged to avoid mould and allow the desirable bacteria  (LAB) to thrive in airless conditions.
 
3.  Salt of the Earth, is a good idea for the safest and yummiest ferment possible.
 
4. QUALITY
 
•Organic, fresh-picked or farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and spices yield the best tasting results.
 
•Produce (chemical-free), thriving with good bacteria. Organic soils contain microbes which surround plant roots and bind minerals.
 
•It is important to use the best quality organic vegetables, quality salt and filtered or clean water for lacto-fermentation. Lactobacilli need plenty of nutrients to do their work; and, if the vegetables are deficient, the process of fermentation will not proceed.
 
•Likewise, if salt or water contains impurities, the quality of the final product will be jeopardized. And we all KNOW quality.
 
5. NO SPOILED FOOD
•In addition, the foods must be fresh. The primary causes for failure of the ferment to properly establish in the first place, are: Spoiled Food.
•If produce is old or starting to mold, do NOT use for fermenting.  Good fresh food is required for fermenting. Even if the moldy parts are trimmed and washed well, there is a very high chance that the foods have already been contaminated with a high degree of mold spores.
6. FRESH
 
•The golden rule is to use the freshest vegetables, fruit and spices that you can find. Home grown and fresh picked is best, but we are not all good gardeners so look for ORGANIC food suppliers and stop at farmers markets and roadside stalls in your local area. Rise to the challenge of using seasonal produce that is readily available. Wash everything in “clean” water and peel vegetables only if necessary. No tap water for brines, etc.
It takes a lot to spoil a batch.
 
•The way to keep kraut happy … is to suffocate the cabbage!
 
7. •Disturb as little as possible, especially in the first phase, however, make sure food always stay under the brine – no baby burping!
 
8. •Ferments must be allowed to complete to the point where lacto-fermentation has occurred, if using a crock -transfer to a quality glass jar that is essentially airtight, and place in the refrigerator.
 
•In cool storage, the bacteria continue to ferment, but at a very slow rate.
 
9. •Am oxygen-free type glass jar with an airtight clip is a common storage jar and we find it takes all the hassle out of traditional fermenting.
 
10 •After removing any portion. Keep the food dunked, will be preserved much better. Small bits usually are not the issue.
 
ABOUT
 

Lacto refers to lactic acid

Lactic acid-producing bacteria (LABs), primarily Lactobacilli

Anaerobic (air /oxygen-free) environment

Bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid

Inhibits harmful bacteria

Acts as a preservative

Characteristic sour flavor

Botulism does not occur in anything that is sufficiently acidic.

Inhospitable environment – Clostridium botulinum + other pathogenic bacteria.

Salmonella and E. coli cannot proliferate in harsh environments

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LACTIC ACID FERMENTATION

Kimchi

Sauerkraut

Pickles + all fermented vegetables

Cheese

Yoghurt

YEAST FERMENTATION

Yeast converts glucose to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

CO2 makes things bubble. The ethanol makes us merry.

Beer

Wine

Bread

ACETIC FERMENTATION

(2 stage Microbial biotransformation)

(1) yeasts transform sugars within the juice into alcohol.

(2) AAB  transformation of ethanol alcohol into acetic acid

Wine Vinegar

Malt Vinegar

Coconut Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Fruit Vinegar

Scrap Vinegar

BACTERIA / YEAST FERMENTS **

(Symbiotic fermentation)

Tibicos (water kefir)

Kefir

Viili

Kombucha

Ginger Beer Plant

Mold Ferments

Some cheeses

Koji ( miso, sake and mirin)

Tempeh

Familiar Food Fermentation

Vanilla

Chocolate

Olives

Capers

Maraschino Cherries

Umeboshi Plums

* Some ferments have multiple kinds of fermentation happening at different times, or even overlapping.

** Not an actual term, nor is it a true “type” of fermentation.

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Why ferment foods?

Fermented foods or functional foods 

Adds microbes to the gut

Increases micronutrients

Increase levels of vitamins in food

Makes food more digestible

Develops Flavor

Eliminates anti-nutrients

Improves unpalatable raw

Extends shelf life

Fun, easy +  inexpensive!

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3 STAGES

STAGE 1

Leuconostoc mesenteroides initiates sauerkraut fermentation.

Produce carbon dioxide

Replaces oxygen

Anaerobic (oxygen-free)

Anaerobic bacteria begin producing an acidic environment

Lactic acids reach between .25 and .3%,

Leuconostoc mesenteroides slow down and die off,  enzymes continue to function.

1-3 days, depending on temperature.

Likes a temperature range of 65-72° F.

STAGE 2

Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus cucumeris – lactic acid level of 1.5-2% is attained.

Anaerobically

Aerobically will produce acetic acid (vinegar)

Making sauerkraut, oxygen must be avoided

Fermentation of cabbage via lactic acid.

Acid level too high for some bacteria, friendly bacteria to become dominant.

Continues 10-30 days,  again, depending on temperature. 

Prefer temperature of 72° F – 90° F.

STAGE 3

Lactobacillus brevis (some include Lactobacillus pentoaceticus) finish off the ferment.

Lactic acid  2-2.5%, reaching maximum growth and ferment is finished.

Final stage lasts approximately 1 week, depending on temperature. 

Same temperature range of 72° F – 90° F.

 

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Fermentation is a simple process.

To answer ? always think … Health Benefits + Taste

NO STARTERS!

NO PREVIOUS BRINE … just time!

PICKLES …Fresh brine each time!

WHEY …. NO WAY!

WHAT REQUIRES A STARTER?

LIKE WITH LIKE – exception Eggs and Meat

Remember 

NO Spoiled Food.

QUALITY produce (fresh and chemical-free)

CLEAN WATER / Bok choy

FOOD ALWAYS TO REMAIN UNDER THE BRINE …  Cover in brine and all will be fine!!!

DO NOT DISTURB / as little as possible

Oxygen-free

You got it!!!

Let’s ferment together!

 

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