Lacto-fermentation is the the simplest and arguably oldest method of food processing and preserving. This primitive fermentation process requires nothing more than salt, vegetables and water, with no need for expensive equipment. Foods like cabbage naturally contain lactic acid bacteria and when you submerge these foods into a salt brine, two things happen.
Firstly, the salt kills off the harmful “bad” bacteria which spoils food and is potentially harmful to us – this is stage one. Stage two is where the “good” lactic acid bacteria gets to work and encourages more growth. This healthy lactic acid bacteria is otherwise known as probiotics – you know, that buzz word that food companies use to make their products more expensive. Probiotics are packed full of lactobacillus which helps us to digest the foods we ingest. These Lactobacillus bacteria eat sugar and turn it into lactic acid, contributing to a healthy gut environment.
Simply put, salt creates just the right environment for fermentation, killing off the bad guys and allowing the good to thrive. This method of preserving elevates everything about the original food source – transforming it into something with better texture, taste and higher nutritional density. Think about how a cucumber can turn into a delicious New York deli-style pickle or cabbage can turn into umami rich saerkraut or kimchi through the process of fermentation.
Here are recipes that use the process of lacto-fermentation. Also head to the fermentation section to find some fermented food recipes to make your tummy smile.