Lacto-fermenting is an amazing way of storing vegetables. The basic idea is you put vegetables in a brine, salty enough the vegetables to not grow mold and as they sit in this brine the sugars from the vegetables turn into lactic acid. The result? A naturally pickled vegetable full of enzymes, probiotics, live/raw that has a much longer shelf life then unpreserved vegetables (months or longer depending on the product).
Sauerkraut and TRUE Kosher Pickles (not what you get at the store) are made this way. Today I will share with you the basics of lacto-fermenting, and will be sharing a video of my sister Hannah making a gallon of pickles so you can see just how simple it is.
- VERY Tasty (if done right…)
- Quick (Extremely)
- VERY Healthy
- Little to no heat involved (like there is with canning)
- No canning
- Great for your Gut
- It is an art not a science, thus being pretty easy once you get your mind around it.
- Is a LIVE form of preserving which means you can have summer’s bounty throughout the winter without eating less nutritious canned products.
- It is how you make TRUE kosher pickles (no, it is not the garlic,
- It is an art, not a science so it might take a little bit of experimenting.
- It is a little trickier when fruits, or large amounts of sugar, are involved.
- The fermented vegetables need to be kept in cold storage. Which is a hardly a problem if you have a root cellar, but chances are you don’t so they must be stored in the fridge. I want a root cellar at some point!
- Can be intimidating if you are new. It goes against a lot of what is commonly known about preserving food. You let food sit out at room temperature for a few days to a few weeks.
- Need a system that allows gas out, but does not allow air in.
It is better to make a brine and add it to the vegetables then to add the salt and water separately as it will dissolve your salt better.
Do not use iodized salt. I like Redmonds Real Salt.
Use purified water.
If at ALL possible use organic produce. You do not want sprays to get into your ferment.
Basic Pickling Method
You will need:
- Small cucumbers (20-25 will fit in a gallon jar).
- Brine made with 3/4 T NOT iodized salt per cup of PURIFIED water. (It takes about 8 cups of brine for a gallon of pickles, 2 cups for a quart, ect. If you have brine left over… add it to your pasta water as the salt element.)
- A few grape leaves (Optional. It keeps them CRUNCHY. I have used them sometimes, and not others. I like the satisfying crunch as well as the homemade feel of less crunchy ones)
- Spices, herbs, aromatics to taste (ex. garlic, dill weed, dill seed, red pepper flakes, pickling spice) For the recipe I did I used one and a half heads of garlic and a full recipe of pickling spice. I do not know how it will taste yet… we shall see.
- A ziplock baggy that will open up the width of your jar. (Sandwich for quart, and gallon for gallon) Plus some water or glass beads.
- Glass jars, which are very clean. Sterilized is always best. *cough* But, I usually just clean mine in hot hot hot soapy water.
I know those are just the basics so… have any questions?