Lacto Fermented Food: Some Recipes and Info

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Fermented Food Recipes Sources

How to make Kombucha video.

How to make milk kefir with grains video.

How to make water kefir with grains

Lacto Fermented Choko

If you are here there is a good chance I met you at market and I directed you here to learn more about how to make fermented / cultured foods.

Fermaculture intends to produce fermented food in a controlled environment. Fermented Food is safe and consists of mainly vegetables, fruit, water, salt and whey that is combined together and left at room temperature to ferment. Basically, there are two ways of adding salt to create a ferment. One is to make a brine (water salt mixture), while the other is to use salt directly on the prepared vegetables to draw the liquid out. After you have that mixture of vegetables and salt in either form your job becomes to nurture the growth of the happy healthy bacteria at the expense of potentially spoiling organisms and bacteria. Don’t worry as nature is on your side in this task, and the happy, healthy bacteria produce beneficial acids which crowd out, and make life impossible for the bad guys who can’t survive in the high acid environment. Then over time your product will become progressively safer and more stable – even after a couple of days.

Recently we’ve started to make a few videos of what we do to make our fermented foods for market. Here is Ricky’s first video.


Here are tested methods of preparing fermented food. The USDA has specific food safety procedures outlined that we often follow in preparing fermented food. There are critical control points we address such as the PH of fermenting food, bubbles, sight, smell and taste of fermenting food and submersion of the food below the correct liquid. If you watch this first video you will get lots of ideas of how to make fermented food safely.

Here is a video produced by the USDA.

Following this clinical safety conscious video on making pickles we will follow with the very creative Sandor Katz making Sauerkraut.


Sauerkraut with Sandor

Sandor encourages everyone in the spirit that you can make all these ferments at home without any special ingredients. There is a strong sense of empowerment to the maker who is encouraged to experiment and sample the results. Through practice, the art of fermentation is born.


Fermented Vegetables

Making Kefir

There are a few principles to consider.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to a fermentation being done. When temperatures are cooler, organisms are slower to get established and slower to ferment the food. On the other hand, if temperatures are warmer, fermentation proceeds more quickly. This is why fermenting recipes give you ranges of time and leave the rest up to you. If you know your climate is cooler, always add time.

We prefer a slower fermentation at lower temperatures because they say it yields better, more complex flavors. The speed at which food ferments does not affect food safety.

Principle #1: Lactic Acid stops the growth of unhealthy germs and encourages proliferation of desirable microorganisms. The resulting acidic environment is also good news for your gut.

Principle # 2: Alcohol. Alcohol fermentations produce ethanol, which is germicidal; these foods also have longer shelf lives.

Principle #3: Acetic Acid. The production of acetic acid extends preservation.

Principle # 4: Salt. Adding salt to foods inhibits spoiling and food poisoning. Always use non chlorinated water and non iodized salt – table salt will not do. You don’t want these to harm your bacteria.

Signs of Trouble

If you don’t see bubbles or the flavor is not getting sour, these are not signs in and of themselves that a fermentation has gone awry. Some fermented foods do not bubble much and some do not get that sour.

To tell when a fermentation is in trouble, the only true sign is smell. And taste, of course – but usually none of us will get past a bad smell to actually put that questionable something in our mouths. This is likely why there is never any cases of reported or documented food poisoning with lacto fermented vegetables.

There is a difference between sour and spoiled, or sour and rotting, A ferment gone wrong will smell repulsive, disgusting, and rotting – it is unmistakable. Spoiled fermented foods should not be eaten and will be discarded as part of our food safety program.

Now you have done a bit of reading perhaps it’s time to introduce another simple practical recipe and how to do video from jenny or Raw Food Pleasures on the Gold Coast. You may have guessed by now that YES I am trying to give you the principles to experiment rather than send you towards a specific recipe. This way you can easily make use of what’s in season and close at hand. Perhaps even outside in your veggie garden. If you are not sure than simply put your ingredients in a youtube search with keywords like fermented food or lacto fermentation and you are sure to find delicious recipes. This is the top hit for fermented food recipe in Australia.


Hazards and Responses

Hazard: mold throughout ferment

Response: throw out the product.

In some rare instances, fermented foods can be overtaken by mold or become spoiled. This spoilage can be caused by things such as temperature or water levels a.Mold can be seen on the top of a batch of fermented food and in such cases we throw out the result and start anew. At home though and if you are producing for only a few people it is fine to simply scrape of small areas of mold growth

Hazard: Food doesn’t ferment

Response: Use the specific ingredients needed for proper fermentation. Salt, water and a starter culture.

When making our own lacto-fermented foods, several basic ingredients are required for the process to be effective. Fermentation is then simple and easy to do safely when we have them. Salt, water, and a starter culture are the three main ingredients we use although a starter culture is optional.

The salt and water, when combined, make what is called a brine. A starter culture is a set of living beneficial organisms in wet or dry form that gives the food an active colony of microorganisms to start the process of fermentation. This starter culture (usually whey) is the microbiological culture that actually performs the fermentation, and it consists of a cultivation medium, such as grains, seeds, or nutrient liquids that have been well colonized by the microorganisms (bacterial and fungal). Most starter cultures come from Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria in small quantities of whey retained from previous successful batches of a fermented product.

The recipes we have posted are a collection we picked up and have used and often altered a little. Some of them have come from some of the better books available on fermenting foods online in the books mentioned below:

Donna Schwenk’s Cultured Food Life

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture

Katz, Sandor Ellix, Sally Fallon

Fermented Foods for Health: Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness

Rawlings, Deirdre

Learn to Make Kombucha

Cultures for Health

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods

Harmon, Wardeh

Fermenting vol. 4: Water Kefir

Rashelle Johnson

Kindle Edition

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