Recently we talked about why I love fermenting so much. If you missed the post, you can read it here. Today, let’s talk about what in the world lacto-fermentation is, and how you can start doing it yourself!
First, what lacto-fermentation is NOT:
It is NOT making an alcoholic beverage (necessarily)
It is NOT taking rotting vegetables and facilitating more rot (that is composting, and it belongs in the garden)
It is NOT (necessarily) making things with dairy or into a dairy product
It is NOT something only hippies do, modern-day people all over the world continue fermenting in the traditions of their ancestors
It is NOT something new, it has been done for centuries, likely as long as humans have been around
And here is what lacto-fermentation IS!
It IS a process of preserving food in a way that keeps the enzymes alive and the nutrition in its natural form
It IS a way to eat those beneficial bacteria, which have been shown to aid in digestion, boost immunity, regulate metabolism, facilitate weight loss, and more
It IS facilitating the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast that produce lactic acid (a substance that pathogenic bacteria cannot live in the presence of)
It IS easy to “put up” ferments, and very difficult to mess them up
It IS safe to eat your own fermented foods, because if they turn rancid instead of fermented, there are obvious signs which clue you in that you should throw it away!
It IS inexpensive to make ferments, your only recurring costs are the food you are fermenting, salt and water
It IS a lot of fun, and an activity you can do as a group with other interested people
Have I convinced you yet?
“How do I get started?” you might ask.
I’m glad you asked!
There are a lot of resources for fermenting.
Books and blogs: Katz is a leader in the fermentation world, but there are many others as well
Online groups: You can join the very active Wild Fermentation facebook group, and there are others
Websites: Cultures for Health is a website I visit often. They offer instructional videos, a blog, books and other fermenting supplies, and different starter cultures for purchase.
Classes: There are a variety of classes offered if you like the hands-on approach of fermenting. Many people, including myself, offer these classes. A real-foods chef, Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well, regularly offers and other classes--both locally here in Colorado, and around the Americas.
Friends: Fermenting is becoming more popular, so ask around. Someone you know may already be fermenting, and probably would love teaching you as you do it together!
The most important thing about getting started is to just DO IT! There is an aspect of fermenting that can only be learned by doing, feeling and trying it out, and failing! And, because it doesn’t cost much, you can throw it away and try again! Next week I will post a simple ferment recipe--it’s an easy one to start with!
Disclosure: I am not an affiliate of any of the above resources, I just like them!