Lacto-Fermented…..not anything like it sounds, I promise!
I came across this type of food preservation while on Facebook a few weeks ago from a natural food page I follow. And, I’ll be honest, it did not sound like something I wanted to try. The first thing that came to mind was I thought I knew what “lacto” had to do with….yea, me too…milk, as in lactose. I let out a big sigh of relief when I read that the “lacto” part actually has to do with lactobacilli, an all natural good bacteria.
Such a good bacteria that we all need some in our bodies. It is a probiatic. Meaning it benefits our health each and every time we consume some of it. Ever heard of L. acidophilus in yogurt? Yep, the L. on the front stands for Lactobacillius. Your gut will love you for going “old fashioned” and using this method to preserve your food. Many, many years ago, this was the only way yo keep your food preserved, before the ultimate Pressure Canning Method came around. Pressure canning is wonderful, do not get me wrong. Since learning about lacto-fermention though I have learned that with pressure canning the “good” and the “bad” bacteria gets killed during the heating process when canning.
So, healthy is better, yea? I think so too!
The lacto-fermentaion process is when the lactobacilli bacteria converts the natural sugars and starches into lactic acid. The lactic acid aids in the natural process of preservation of the food that is being cultured. The end result is a food that is highly nutritious and easily digested. A perfect way for you to keep the processed yuck out of your kitchen and getting some outrageously good things in you and your family! All in a few minutes of your day.
Here is what you need for this recipe, the following is for a 1 quart jar:
- Cucumbers (2-3 garden grown ones, if available)
- fresh dill (4-5 sprigs, the head of the plant only)
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- fresh garlic (4-5 bulbs)
- 2 cups water
- quart size mason(canning) jar
Easy peasy here we go…
Wash your cucumbers and slice (or cut into spears whichever you would prefer. If you do not use slices, the lacto-fermetation process will take longer). Add your cucumbers to your Mason jar, packing them in as tightly as you can, leaving an inch to an inch and a 1/2 of room at the top of the jar. Wash off your garlic and dill and add them to your jar. Take a measuring cup (I used my 2 cup glass Pyrex) and mix together 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Mix until the salt is completely dissolved into the water. Gently pour your water/salt mixture over the cucumbers, garlic and dill. Make sure the cucumbers are completely submerged. If not, mold will grow on them and ruin your (to be) pickles. If need be, add a sterilized rock to the top of your jar to make sure everything stays under the water mixture. Add your lid and ring. Now place your pickles on a counter and let the process begin.
Check your pickles within 3 days, crack open your jar and taste a pickle. (Be warned, it is going to be very potent smelling! I promise the process is working though.) Is it to your liking? If so, gather up your jar and put it in the refrigerator. Putting it in the refrigerator stops the lacto-fermentaion process. At this point your pickles will now last for 6-12 months. That is if you don’t eat them all in a short time, like we do!
If you would like the pickles to be a bit more tasty, close the jar back up and check the next day. Depending on how warm your home is, the climate you live in, you might have to wait up to as many as 7 days for this process to be complete. When you are satisfied with the taste, put your jar into the refrigerator.
If you see some frothy stuff on the top of the pickles, spoon it off. This can happen when you use table salt instead of sea salt.
Interested in Spicy Dill Pickles? Check out that recipe here.
Have you tried to lacto-ferment anything vegetable? How did it turn out? I would love to hear from you, feel free to leave a comment.
Many blessings to you,
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