Lacto-fermentation. I have to admit, the word sounds pretty disgusting at first listen. You think to yourself, “Are they fermenting these things with milk?” Even realizing that everyday foods for us like yogurt and sour cream are fermented milk, it does not sound even close to appealing. But, truth be told, lacto-fermentation has nothing to do with milk (brace yourself, this sounds even less appealing), but with lactobacilli – a probiotic bacteria that can help to preserve foods.
Fermented foods are even more nutritious than their raw counterparts. This is because the fermentation process produces digestion-aiding enzymes, and can vastly multiply the vitamin content of food, all while creating a rich flavor.
We have been hoping to include more fermented foods in our diet for some time, now. I acquired a copy of Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz – a book that holds a wealth of information on fermented foods – and scoured the real food blogosphere for tips, tricks, and any recipes I did not already have. I started my experimenting this summer, when I made a batch of lacto-fermented peach salsa. It was absolutely incredible! Not only did it taste great, but it kept very well, and of course was loaded with enzymes and nutrients. Shortly thereafter, though, third trimester exhaustion caught up with me and I was not in the mood for much more experimentation, and of course it is now winter (and I really prefer to work with local, organic produce for these experiments. This spring, however, I plan to let the fermenting fun begin! I even managed to add some additional wide-mouth jars to my collection, so I can do more than a couple different veggies at once.
Between now and then, however, it would be great to get a taste for specific vegetables in their already-fermented state, so I am very excited about Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s latest giveaway: A fermented veggie sampler from Cultures for Health! I have been very pleased with purchases I have made with them; including yogurt cultures, kefir and water kefir grains, and a kombucha SCOBY, as well. Everything has been great quality, and I have gotten some great results with their cultures, so I have no doubt that these veggies will be incredible.
Head on over to Kelly the Kitchen Kop to enter, and sign up for her newsletter, because the winners will only be announced there!