If you would like to learn how to preserve foods without preservatives, then you have come to the right place! Fermentation can make food easier to digest, provide natural probiotics, and, well, preserve your food!
Many popular foods are derived from originally fermented food, such as:
- Sourdough Bread
- Soy Sauce
Because these are sold in stores, does not mean they are fermented or contain probiotics as if you could make them from home. Many times food has hot vinegar poured over them to preserve them, but do not contain the health benefits of the fermented counterparts. 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. It is important to take proper steps to ferment your food and preserve the minerals and nutrients that are heightened during the process.
Create an environment: Fermentation is the growth of bacteria, it is important to control the bacteria. This is done with salt, starter, increasing acidity.
Correct Temperature: ferment at room temperature, store in a cool location – fridge.
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. The pickled pickles tasted like a familiar vinegar-dill taste, while the fermented pickles were slightly more fresh and had a zip to them.
Pickled food is preserved with a brine or acid (vinegar/lemon juice/citric acid).
Fermented food is preserved and transformed with [good] bacteria. In fermentation, the carbs and sugar are eaten and conformed to acid, CO2, or alcohol, thus 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). Some foods (sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, lemons) do not need a starter, just some salt and water.
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. Whey is a natural probiotic. 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 is also contains antioxidants, and can kill bad bacteria. Drinking 8oz (or more) of kombucha daily can be a great health practice. But again, do not make any changes in your health until consulting your doctor. Kombucha’s dual superfood benefit is fermenting your food, so I digress.
How to Make Whey
- 1 cup Whole Fat Plain Yogurt
- 1 Flour Towel
- 1 Medium Glass Bowl
- Lay flour sack over bowl.
- 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 - the contents in the cloth are greek yogurt/cream cheese. Depending on how thick it is.
How to Brew Kombucha
- 1.5 c Starter Kombucha Tea
- 1.5 c Raw (unbleached) Sugar
- 8 tea bags Black/Green
- 1 SCOBY
- 1.5 gal Glass Jar
- Boil 3 cups of water and steep tea bags for 30 min.
- Add sugar & stir until dissolved.
- Pour sweetened tea into glass jar and add cold water until 3/4 full. Cool to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
- 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,