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Tools for Cultivating a Healthy Gut!
Lacto-Fermentation for Everyone

Monica Corrado, Simply Being Well
Friday, September 7, 2018

What is Lacto-fermentation?

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation developed to preserve foods. The food is preserved by the lactic acid that is given off by lacto-bacilli, aka, lactic-acid producing bacteria. The lactic acid inhibits the growth of putrefying bacteria. To lacto-ferment a food, encourage the growth of healthy bacteria (lactobacilli) already present, or add lactobacilli and encourage it to grow.

Why are Lacto-fermented Foods and Beverages in the GAPS Diet?

The most important role for Lacto-Ferments is to add beneficial bacteria to the gut, and help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in throughout the intestine.

Lacto-fermented foods (aka, “ferments”) also have many other benefits. They provide enzymes which are crucial to breaking down food, especially for those with leaky guts/damaged duodenums.

Here’s a quick list of other benefits of ferments:

1. foods that are lacto-fermented help to kick on the digestive process
2. increase vitamin levels in the food, and create other vitamins
3. produce natural antibiotics and anti-carcinogenic substances
4. help to maintain regular blood pressure and heart rate
5. help to break down fats in liver
6. maintain healthy level of acidification in body

PLEASE NOTE: Ferments are powerful foods. They CAN provoke a detoxification reaction if you are not used to eating or drinking them. As always, slow and steady wins this healing journey.

What you need to Lacto-ferment a Food or Beverage

1. Salt OR
2. Salt plus water (brine) OR
3. Salt, water and whey (from yogurt or kefir) OR
4. Salt, water and a starter packet (for yogurt or kefir or a vegetable starter packet) OR
5. Salt, water and a probiotic capsule OR
6. “Ferment juice” from a previous batch

NOTE: The more varieties of beneficial bacteria in your diet, the better for you, and the faster you may heal. You are encouraged to ferment many different ways, not just one—in order to accomplish this.

Special Notes on Fermentation

1. Always be sure the liquid covers the ingredient you are lacto-fermenting.
2. Fermentation is an anaerobic process. Too much oxygen will ruin the vegetables or fruit. Do not open the jar until the process is over, and do not leave too much space between the food and the lid of the jar.
3. Leave one inch of space between the top of the vegetables you are fermenting and the top of the jar.
4. Store in 40 degrees or so- a root cellar, a small refrigerator kept on “warm”, or the top shelf of your refrigerator.
5. Lacto-fermented vegetables will keep several months in cold storage; Lacto-fermented fruits and preserves should be eaten within two months of making.
6. Some Lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables may get bubbly. This is natural.
7. Harmless white spots or foam may appear on the top of the liquid. Simply remove with a spoon and discard.

Recipes: Lacto-fermented Beverages and Vegetables

How to make “quick whey”
Makes about 2 cups

1 quart good quality plain organic whole milk yogurt OR kefir, no fillers 1 strainer, preferably cone-shaped
cheese cloth or tea towel or linen napkin
2 cup liquid measure or bowl to fit strainer
• Place strainer in liquid measure. Line the strainer with 2 layers of cheese cloth or tea towel or linen napkin.
• Spoon yogurt or kefir into strainer. Whey will drip into the liquid measure and yogurt/kefir cheese will remain in the strainer.
• Leave on the counter to strain for 12-36 hours. The longer you drip, the firmer the cheese.
Note: One quart of yogurt will yield about 2 cups of whey and 1 cup of yogurt cheese. Store whey and the cheese in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Whey will last up to 6 months under refrigeration.

Beet Kvass
Makes 2 quarts

1 medium beet, sliced (Do not grate) 1-2 Tablespoons of sea salt
5 cloves garlic, peeled (optional) 1 cup whey
1 teaspoon of grated ginger (optional) water to fill

OR do not use any whey, and increase the amount of salt to 2 Tablespoons total

• Ferment on the counter at room temperature for 2-5 days in a 2 quart jar. Wait until the lid is tight (you can no longer press it down with your fingers), and then place in the refrigerator.
• Top off with water every time you pour out some to drink. When the beet is pale, begin again from scratch.
• Note: best to drink beet kvass on an empty stomach, morning and evening. No more than 4 oz. at a time. Can be diluted with water.

Fruit or Vegetable Kvass (fermented drink)
Makes 1 quart

Kvass may be made from any vegetables or combination of vegetables and fruits and berries, or just fruit and berries.

Fill about 1/3 of a quart jar with sliced fruit, vegetables, or berries, or a combination of them. A good combination is one organic apple, a handful of organic berries, and a bunch of peeled garlic cloves or ginger root. Add ½ cup kefir or yogurt whey and fill with water.

• Ferment on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 days. Then store in the refrigerator.
• Top off with water every time you pour it. When the fruit is pale, begin again from scratch.

Makes 1 quart

1 medium cabbage-green, red or a combination (can be different types of cabbage) 1 T caraway seeds (optional)
1 T sea salt
4T whey (or an additional Tablespoon of salt)

• Shred cabbage very fine and place in a large stainless steel bowl. Add all other ingredients, and pound with meat pounder for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, allow the salt to work the cabbage for up to several hours before pounding.)
• Place ingredients in a one quart, wide mouth ball jar, leaving one-two inches space from the top. Seal tightly and leave on counter for 3-5 days, or longer, until the lid is taut.
• Then place in cold storage. Will keep for a month or so after opened. Sauerkraut will get better with age—so try to wait a month or so before opening!

For more information about lacto-fermentation, including an in-depth look at the role of lacto-ferments in healing a leaky gut, see my book:
Cooking Techniques for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Part III: Lacto-fermentation, available from Selene River Press as an ebook, a print edition, and a pdf download.

See also: Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, With Love from Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Cooking Techniques for Well-Being, Monica Corrado, The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz

©2018 Monica Corrado                         Simply Well Being, LLC                          All rights reserved.


Author: OGS

Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.

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