If you would like to learn how to preserve foods without preservatives, then you have come to the right place! Fermenting can make food easier to digest, provide natural probiotics, and, well, preserve your food!
Popular foods originally derived from fermented food, such as:
- Sourdough Bread
- Soy Sauce
However, grocery store versions of these products are not necessarily fermented or unpasteurized. Many times food has hot vinegar poured over them to preserve them, but do not contain the health benefits of the fermented counterparts. Otherwise fermented food in a grocery store is pasteurized and that essentially kills the bacteria – good and bad.
Please consult your doctor if you are making changes to your diet.
Protecting the Fermentation Process.
Fermentation is done at room temperature and you can put your food at risk of contamination. Good bacteria heightened by fermenting need to be diligently protected.
A few steps to protect this process:
First, create an appealing environment. Fermentation is the growth of bacteria, it is important to prevent bacteria overgrowth. Do this with salt, starter, and increased acidity. We want to increase the good bacteria and limit the bad bacteria.
Secondly, is managing the correct temperature. Ferment at room temperature, store in a cool location – fridge. Room temperature allows bacteria to grow and the refrigerator slows this process. Please note: it does not seize the process, just slows.
Fermented vs. Pickled.
In the beginning of my journey of canning, I pickled food. Then I came across the world of fermenting.
I was puzzled…
What is the difference between pickling food and fermenting?
Were the pickles I made as beneficial as the pickles I was trying to ferment?
They sure tasted different. Pickled pickles taste like a familiar vinegar-dill taste. On the other hand, fermented pickles are slightly more fresh and have a zip to them.
Here’s the difference:
Preserve pickled food with a brine or acid (vinegar/lemon juice/citric acid).
Whereas fermented food is preserved and transformed with [good] bacteria. In fermentation, the carbs and sugar are eaten and conformed to acid, CO2, or alcohol, therefore preserving the food and easier to digest.
To properly ferment, you typically need a proper starter. My go-to choices for this are whey (easy peasy lemon squeezy) or kombucha (I always have this on-hand). In short, whey is versatile and kombucha is convenient.
Some foods (sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, lemons) do not need a starter, just some salt and water. Similarily apple cider vinegar uses sugar in lieu of salt and water.
Finally I am going to explain how to make my go-to starters: whey & kombucha.
Whey contains Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium & Phosphorus. It is an excellent electrolyte, and contains essential proteins. This golden liquid contains natural probiotics.
You may drink whey – but please, start at 1t/day and work your way up. Add it to your drinks, food, or drink it plain. Whey is the golden-clear liquid on top of your yogurt.
Some people dump it – don’t be that person. Consume that golden liquid!
Kombucha is also a natural probiotic. It contains antioxidants, and can kill bad bacteria.
Drinking 8oz (or more) of kombucha daily can be a great health practice. Most importantly to note, do not make any changes in your health until consulting your doctor.
Kombucha’s dual superfood benefit is fermenting your food. As a result, I always have this on stock in our home.
How to Make Whey.
- flour sack towel
- Medium Glass Bowl
- 1 cup Whole Fat Plain Yogurt
- First lay flour sack over bowl.
- Next pour 1 cup (or other desired amount) of yogurt onto flour towel.
- Tie flour towel leaving around yogurt.
- Hang the flour towel on a cabinet handle with bowl underneath. Leave for 6-8 hours. The liquid in the bowl is whey. Greek yogurt is in the towel.
How to Brew Kombucha.
- 1.5 Gal Glass Jar
- 3 c Starter Kombucha Tea
- 1.5 c Raw (unbleached) Sugar
- 8 tea bags Black/Green
- 1 SCOBY
- Boil 3 cups of water and steep tea bags for 30 min.
- Add sugar & stir until dissolved.
- Pour sweetened tea into glass jar, then add cold water until 3/4 full. Cool to 75F.
- Add starter tea and SCOBY. Fill to top with more cool water. Stir.
- Cover jar with flour towel or paper towel and secure with rubber-band to prevent bugs/impurities.
- Let rest 7-30 days, until taste is slightly sour, but still sweet. Typically there will be a new SCOBY formed on top - this SCOBY will be opaque when the batch is ready.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,