Natural fermenting (or lacto-fermenting) has been included in diets of every traditional society around the world throughout time. Europeans fermented dairy, sauerkraut, herbs, grape leaves, root vegetables; Alaskan Inuit fermented fish and sea mammals; Latin Americans fermented cortido; Asians fermented vegetables, sauces, kimchi; Africans fermented porridges made from soured grains.
Natural fermenting contains probiotics beneficial to human health. Harvard health writes that supermarket pickling that uses vinegar (not the natural fermentation process) means they do not contain probiotics and that naturally fermenting at home is safe and easy. BBC Health lists that some of the health benefits include improved digestion, absorption of nutrients, immune function, mood & behavior (serotonin – a neurotransmitter involved in mood – is made in the gut).
Not only are naturally fermented foods nutrient rich and beneficial to human health but they taste great! NPR reports that "the nutrients are intact, the foods are easier to digest, and new flavors have been created...this taste of time and place gives your food what some fermenters call 'microbial terroir.'"
Some of our favorite recipes for natural fermenting include: salsa, kimchi, hard-boiled eggs, chow chow (a mixture of cauliflower, peppers, onions, garlic, turmeric), pickles (use a wild grape leaf from the yard to keep them crispy!), sauerkraut and more!
To get started:
1. Find the freshest, most organic ingredients to ferment
2. Chop (or hard boil) the ingredients and place into the crock (our crock is traditionally handmade in Poland using natural materials)
3. Place the glass weights on top of the food
4. Create a brine using filtered water and high quality sea salt (about 2 tablespoons of salt for every quart of water; may need experimenting: too little salt = bad bacteria live & too much salt = good bacteria cannot live)
5. Pour the salted water over the ingredients and weights (about an inch over everything) and remove any floating ingredients.
6. Cover the crock and pour the brine into the moat (the moat design allows gases to escape while preventing mold from forming! #genius!)
7. Place the crock on the counter and listen for the delightful sounds of natural fermenting! So exciting and fun!
8. Keep the moat filled with brine
9. Check for desired flavors after 3-5 days (or longer!)
10. Fill jars and place fermented foods in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process and store for days-months
11. Enjoy with every meal for heightened health & happiness!!!! #magical:)
P.S. We didn't always know about natural fermenting and were at first scared to try this unknown territory! We have read many, many articles about it and many sources say you will know if something is wrong! Trust your nose: if it smells unedible then it is unedible!