What is lacto-fermentation?
Lacto-fermentation is an ancient method of food preservation. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years. Before we had technologies like refrigeration and canning, lacto-fermentation was how we would extend the life of produce beyond the growing season.
Unlike pickling, where vinegar, salt and sometimes sugar are added to reduce the pH of the vegetables, lacto fermentation only requires the addition of salt. The lactic acid bacteria present on the vegetables do the hard work, lowering the pH of the brine to safe levels so no harmful bacteria can survive.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the "good" bacteria that line your digestive tract and play a key role in keeping you healthy. Fermented foods are loaded with these living probiotic bacteria.
What are the benefits of eating probiotic rich food such as naturally fermented vegetables?
A lot of research is being conducted on the benefits of naturally fermented vegetables and probiotic rich foods. Studies are showing that probiotic foods support the following;
-healthy immune system
-digesting and absorbing vitamins and minerals as well as elimination
-healthy beautiful skin
Can I eat too many probiotics?
Your gut is full of billions of bacteria so you would have to be eating a LOT of sauerkraut to have too much. Everything in moderation.
That said, it's not uncommon for people to experience a little gas and bloating during the first few days of eating fermented foods. As your gut adapts and balances itself, these symptoms will subside. Always start small and increase the amount you are eating over a few days. Start with one or two servings a day and listen to your body, it knows best.
Does my jar need to be refrigerated?
Before and after opening.
Fermentation is most active at warm temperatures. Cooling it down (in the fridge) slows down the process, and extends the life of your ferment.
Why is my jar hissing at me?
Inside your jar is a living colony of bacteria. If left at room temperature, these bacteria start to wake up, get excited and sometimes they talk to you. The hissing sound is actually just the pressure building up from the ferment becoming more active, but its fun to imagine otherwise. So remember to keep your jar in the fridge to avoid this!
How long will my ferment last?
There is a best before date on the jar. As long as you don't introduce any new bacteria to the jar (ie. eating it straight out of the container) they should last a very long time. Fermentation produces an acidic environment that preserves the vegetables for many months. Fermentation never really stops, even in the fridge. It just slows significantly. The texture becomes softer, more sour, and complex with time.
Can I cook my sauerkraut?
High heat will kill the beneficial probiotics and enzymes found in your ferment. Although there is some new interesting research on the potential benefits of heat killed probiotics, we still suggest eating them cold or adding them at the end of cooking as to receive the maximum benefit.
Is it safe for children and toddlers to eat fermented foods?
It is always wise to check with your doctor, and do your own research before adding new foods to your child's diet, but all the research that we have done suggests that YES it is safe, and beneficial for children to eat fermented vegetables.
Foods containing live cultures will provide your little one with healthy, easily digestible nutrients, and probiotics.
Allowing, and encouraging children to explore different flavours and textures at a young age is a great way to prevent picky eaters (ahem...and picky adults too!).
Do you add starters to your ferments?
No. The vegetables provide all the bacteria necessary for fermentation. No starters needed.