4 S’s To ensure successful ferment
Be sure to add enough salt to your ferment. Add enough salt to dissuade any undesired bacteria from taking hold and spoiling the ingredients, but not so much the finished product is too salty for your taste.
(2) Submerge / Remove the air
Lactobacilli function best in the absence of oxygen. Be sure to close jars tight as the presence of oxygen, once fermentation has begun, oxygen can ruin the final product
When making vegetable ferments, such as sauerkraut, squeeze the vegetables after they have been salted to remove excess liquid. This creates a natural brine and keeps the vegetables crunchy. Shredded cabbage in the sauerkraut recipe, for instance, would be submerged in its own juices, allowing the lactobacilli to do their work.
Be sure all jars and utensils are sanitized to limit the growth of undesirable bacteria and to allow lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria a chance to thrive.
Extra Tips for Optimal Fermentation and FAQ!
Choose organic and local ingredients when possible. Support small farms.
Avoid fruits or vegetables that have been coated in wax, treated with pesticides, or irradiated.
Avoid washing products too thoroughly. If there is visible dirt, remove with gentle cold water rinse. No scrubbing and no fruit or vegetable wash.
Mold requires oxygen to grow. To prevent mold, stir the jars daily so that the surface area is continuously turned.
When to check?:
Wait at least 3-4 days to check on your ferments. Taste and keep fermenting until the food reaches a flavor that you like. Transfer to the refrigerator to slow the fermentation.
Encapsulated probiotics are often made in a lab. Taking a supplement with billions of bacteria of the same strain does not promote biodiversity within the gut. Store-bought probiotics may contain fillers such as binders, artificial colors, and low quality gelatin. Supplements are not held to the same standard as food, and may be of low or dubious quality.
Fermentation reduces naturally occurring toxins and makes certain foods more easily digestible.
Oxalic acid gets broken down by fermentation
Lactose, the milk sugar gets broken down by fermentation into the simple sugars glucose and galactose.
Gluten- a protein found in wheat gets broken down by bacteria during fermentation. Natural leavening of a sourdough includes yeast and lactic acid bacteria that digest the gluten and lower the gluten content in bread.
Many people notice that sourdough is much easier to digest than other types of bread. Traditionally, farmers used to allow wheat harvests to rest and ferment in the field. Making riboflavin, thiamine, and B12 more bioavailable. Commercial wheat does not undergo this process, which is why we often see that store-bought bread has
Phytic acid is found in the outer layer of seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes and interferes with nutrient absorption.
How to get a diverse range of bacteria:
Incorporate different fermented foods in your diet
Include produce from different farms in different nearby bioregions
Include different ingredients in your food
Include some feral or wild ingredients in your ferments
Fermentation generates additional nutrients such as, B vitamins, unique micronutrients, sauerkraut has isothyocianates that are regarded as anit-carcinogenic.
We are overexposed to antibiotics, not only from medicine but they are also found in the water table. Humans are exposed to many anti-bacterial and anti-microbial environments and cosmetics that decrease biodiversity. Eating healthy, probiotic living cultures helps us to promote biodiversity.
When we ingest probiotic bacteria, we are giving the resident bacteria that inhabit our intestines an opportunity to undergo genetic exchange with these “wild” bacteria. Which means greater adaptability and diversity in our gut flora.
Katz, Sendor Ellix. The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World. Chelsea Green Publishing Co, 2013.
Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions: the Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. NewTrends Publishing, Inc., 2005.
Redzepi René, and David Zilber. The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Foundations of Flavor. Artisan, 2018.
Savage, Sunny.Wild Food Plants of Hawai`i. Maui, Hi, 2015.
Powell, Bronwen, Patrick Maundu, Harriet V. Kuhnlein, and Timothy Johns. 2013. “Wild foods from Farm and Forest in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.” Ecology of Food and Nutrition 52 (6).