Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Experiments in Lacto-Fermentation

I've been unconsciously adding more and more fermented & living foods in to my diet lately. It started with Kombucha, added Milk Kefir, and now I'm experimenting with Lacto-Fermented foods.

I first learned about lacto-fermentation sometime last fall. My local farmers market hosts free workshops every Saturday. This particular Saturday they were doing a marathon of workshops on all types of fermenting. I had never heard of lacto-fermentation before and was intrigued. It took a while before I actually tried it though.

The process is simple, uses basically no energy, and creates a raw, living, food with some very nice digestive benefits.

Lacto-fermentation in process. Pickling my garden veggies.
Here's what you do:
Gather the vegetables you would like to pickle. In the picture here I used runner beans, carrots, and summer squash. You can use anything you would normally pickle (cucumbers, beets, cauliflower, etc.) Cut everything up to fit the size of the jar you are using.
Gather flavoring items for your pickles (pepper corns, dill, garlic, celery seed, thyme, oregano, etc)
Pack everything in to your jar as tightly as possible. The goal is to have it so tight that nothing can move or float up.
Pour a mix of salt and water over everything till the jar fills. You want it to be approx. 1 tsp salt for each cup of water.
The most important part is to make sure none of your organic matter is touching air. The water level needs to be above all the veggies and flavorings and you need to have something to weigh everything down so it won't float up and touch the air. Some people use actual weights, I use a plastic bag with water in it. Just put enough water in so the bag/water will sit inside the lip of the jar sealing off the jar from any air.

Your pickles should be ready in about 6-7 days. If you use a little of the juice from a previous batch it will be ready even sooner (about 4 days). Look for the bubbles, you know it working right when you see lots of happy bubbles forming.
***If you would like your pickles to be extra crunchy put your veggies in a bowl of cold water in the fridge for a few hours before starting the fermentation process. You can also put a grape leaf in the jar with your pickles while fermenting to help keep everything crunchy.

For more info check out these links:


  1. Do have any suggestions for where to get a kombucha scoby? I was given some water kefir grains and love them. I have made many tasty batches! It hasn't multiplied though. I have also made kim chi which was super good, so good it its all gone. I'd love to hear more about you fermentation adventures and tips!

  2. If this is my friend Chaya I can give you a scoby. Just let me know when you are available.

    If this is another wonderful Chaya, check your local freecycle, craigslist,, or listserves having to do with diy, urban ag, or healthy food.