What happens when you ferment foods? When I understood what was going on in my jar of sauerkraut and pickles I felt much more confident in eating it. When I knew what was happening and could identify that fermentation was happening, I stopped throwing out my ferments, because I thought they looked weird.
Lacto-fermentation is what takes place when you ferment sauerkraut, pickles and other foods and needs salt, water and vegetables.
It’s the oldest form of food preservation in the world. Lacto stands for lactobacillus bacteria. These bacteria act as a preservative in your ferments and also, give it that classic tangy flavor.
The salt water brine we make when making sauerkraut or pickles creates an environment free of oxygen (anaerobic) where only lactobacillus bacteria can survive.
Harmful bacteria can’t survive in this salty environment.
What happens when you ferment foods?
During stage 1 of lacto-fermentation. We submerge vegetables in a salty brine. The salt kills the harmful bacteria off, leaving lactobacillus to thrive.
During stage 2, the lactobacillus bacteria eat the sugars found on the vegetables and convert it to lactic acid. The lactic acid creates an acidic environment that safely preserves the vegetables and makes it sour.
You can see evidence of this taking place. When you first make your fermented vegetables, the brine is clear and when they’re ready to eat, the brine becomes cloudy. It also smells and tastes sour.
This is also why fermentation is really safe and you’re very unlikely to make yourself sick. As long as you’re using salt and letting this process take place, only good bacteria will be present in your fermented foods.
So, if you want to improve your gut health and are new to making fermented foods, you should join my new online course, Fermenting Veggies.
The new course will cover everything you need to know to make fermented foods at home. It will cover safe fermentation, how to make pickles, sauerkraut, fermented sauces, troubleshooting and much more.