Lacto-Fermentation: Anyone else preserve foods this way?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by IndieMama, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+++

    Besides making dairy and water kefir (probiotic drinks), I am very interested in learning more about fermenting foods, like sauerkraut.

    I found a very good book on it written by Sandor Katz called Wild Fermentation. It's probably the easiest book out there on the subject. (Warning: he is pretty off to the left.)

    Fermented foods are highly nutritious, probiotic and require no refrigeration. This is old style, folks. I have found some youtube videos about it.

    Is there anyone else who enjoys doing this?
    melbo likes this.
  2. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+++

    I tried pickles last summer and failed miserably. I will keep trying!
  3. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    OK I have done this. You can FERMENT darn near anything THEN water bath can the items, like green beans. The methodology for fermentation is well documented (with step by step instructions and nice illustrations) in the Back To Basics book "A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills". It should also be noted that "corning" is a fermentation/brining technique used for meats prior to the advent of mechanical refrigeration. Corning gets it's name from the Olde English term Corn - which is indicative of small granular items, in this case, salt.
    kellory and tulianr like this.
  4. Ladyhawke

    Ladyhawke Monkey+

    This is becoming one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Wild fermentation is a great book, and yes he is pretty kooky ;) my best girlfriend is from Serbia and her parents did this all the time. I tried pickles and sauerkraut last summer and failed completely. My friends brother owns a restaurant and in the winter they only sell a salad made out of cabbage. She told me that I should ferment in the fall after the harvest because it is cooler out but not freezing. I think that the temperature I was keeping the food at was half my problem because I kept everything in my pantry while it fermented. I now have 4 five gallon buckets of cabbage going and one of cucumbers, I am planning on a last bucket of cauliflower and other root vegetables. I do the cabbage whole so I can make cabbage rolls or cut it up for sauerkraut. I put the 6 heads, with the core out, in the bucket with real salt and filtered water only (pretty salty like the ocean almost) and it has been in a cement lined basement since the middle of December. I put a plate with another smaller bucket on top, make sure the water covers a few inches above the vegetables and I skim the top once a week. The water tastes AMAZING! I always thought I had to refrigerate it after 5 to 7 days, but my friend told me if it stays cool it is fine for a very long time, and that at her brothers restaurant in the basement they keep all the cabbage in giant buckets all winter and use it up until spring greens come in. She told me that they drink the water from the fermented vegetables when they have belly problems, and that the cabbage water was the best cure for a hangover:) I plan on doing a lot of cabbage and I'm going to try beets this fall.
    Ganado likes this.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    My wife made some Ginger Ale last year with our little girl. Sure would love to have a 55 gallon drum of Sauerkraut!
  6. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    I literally just bought Readers Digest's 'Back to Basics' and they do provide step by step instructions. I've never tried my hand at Ginger Ale but.... I'd sure like to.
  7. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Melbo - I've made Ginger Ale with honey (Ginger Mead?). Pretty awesome stuff.
  8. Ladyhawke

    Ladyhawke Monkey+

    I was thinking of trying my hand at ginger ale too...but I love honey. How long does it stay fizzy?
  9. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Until it gets drunk up. About 2 days in this house =). It has never lasted longer.
    Seacowboys likes this.
  10. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Yeah, it's like asking how long Jerky lasts... My answer is always 'Not long' :)

    My wife's stayed fizzy for about 4 days in a 2 liter plastic soda bottle but that's about what you'd expect from a commercial 2 liter of Coke. If you made it and capped it in separate bottles like I used to make beer. I bet it would last until opened.
  11. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    How much trouble would it be for you to post the recipe? ..... and adequate instructions? ....... PLEASE
    kellory likes this.
  12. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    No trouble at'all...
    This is a modified version of Alton Brown's Ginger Ale recipe


    1 1/2 ounces finely grated fresh ginger
    6 ounces honey (weighed, not measured)
    7 1/2 cups filtered water
    1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Place the ginger, honey, and 1/2 cup of the water into a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the honey has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for 1 hour.
    Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down to get all of the juice out of the mixture. Chill quickly by placing over and ice bath and stirring or set in the refrigerator, uncovered, until at least room temperature, 68 to 72 degrees F.
    Using a funnel, pour the syrup into a clean 2-liter plastic bottle and add the yeast, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water. Place the cap on the bottle, gently shake to combine and leave the bottle at room temperature for 48 hours. Open and check for desired amount of carbonation. It is important that once you achieve your desired amount of carbonation that you refrigerate the ginger ale (mead). Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, opening the bottle at least once a day to let out excess carbonation.
    Ganado, ditch witch and BTPost like this.
  13. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    Excellent ginger ale recipe!!!
  14. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Didya try it?!? We love it here!
  15. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    No... I haven't tried it but I've got fresh ginger root on hand and of course yeast and lemon juice. I will for sure be trying it!!!
  16. NVBeav

    NVBeav Monkey+++

    Sorry to dig up this past subject, but it has recently piqued my interest. Traditional lacto-fermentation preserving has many health benefits including:
    - replenish stomach flora destroyed by modern foods
    - makes food easier to process/digest (esp. for diabetics) - the sugars are converted to lactic acid
    - preservation of food without the need of chemicals, refrigerators/freezers, or even sterilization of any good and bad living organisms (i.e., canning)
    - more - there's a lot of reading to do

    One reason this is so interesting is that you can easily sustain your food supply with high quality nutrition using common traditional garden veggies (or milk/cream). I'm thinking it will take me a long way towards replacing the highly preserved emergency supplies sitting in storage - although they won't be going away any time soon.

    Having made my first batch of sauerkraut, I can now say that anyone can do it. Even if I made lots of mistakes it came out more than adequately. They say that if you have a "bad" batch you'll wretch at the smell, and mine has been perfectly edible (even my daughter could tolerate it).

    There are also some products that make the home-production of lacto-fermented foods nearly fool proof including the Harsch Crocks and Pickl-It products. I've recently ordered a Pickl-it set of jars.

    My next step is getting my garden prepared to grow lots of non-hybrid/non-gmo veggies...
  17. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have made pickles and sauerkraut via fermentation. I thought both were great, others not so much.

    Pickles were great, I could eat them right from the jar (and sampled them as they were fermenting). My sister love pickles but not these, said there was not enough dill in it. That's an easy solution.

    My sauerkraut came out a bit salty, but edible.

    I got a big PDF files on fermenting all kinds of things from GNOWFGLINS — Raise, save, and prep "God's natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season"
  18. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Isn't fermentation how they make surstromming?

    (Warning, the language is also raw... but almost seems apropos!)

    I'll pass. YMMV.
  19. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I did some pickles according to the directions in Katz's book. I liked them at 3-4 days, after that I didn't. Will stick to my usual pickle recipe, but as soon as my cabbage are ready to pick I'm going to try making some kraut.
    Falcon15 likes this.
  20. Kathy in WV

    Kathy in WV Just runnin' the ridges...

    Living in WV I grew up eating all this pickled stuff and so it was natural to keep on making it for my own family after I married. The most scrumptious thing in the world is a big fat ear of pickled corn snitched out of Grandmas churn in her kitchen. I would give anything to go back in time just once and have a bite of hers. We also do pickled green beans and green tomato kraut. Both my Grandmas pickled these things and also a kind of veggie mix that had cauliflower, onions, green tomatoes and strips of cabbage with maybe a piece of hot pepper tossed in some of the jars for variety. Nobody has mentioned this and I will probably get laughed at but..... My Grandmas would never think of pickling/lacto fermenting ANYTHING without consulting the back of the almanac to make sure the signs were right. Some people claim it makes no difference, but I never succeed unless the signs are right. If I pickle when the sign is in Aries or the "head", I'll get perfection every time.

    I had surgery last week and was put on the ZPack antibiotics, which destroyed my stomach bacteria. I have a few jars of kraut that are still working and I fixed my gut by eating some kraut twice a day and taking some spoonfuls of the brine. Took less than 24 hours to fix my problem! I love my pickled foods!!!!!
    AmericanRedoubt1776 likes this.
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