Vegetable fermentation methods
There are a few different ways to prepare brine for fermenting vegetables, including a method for fermenting without salt. Choose the process that works best for you from the following choices:
Method #1: Salt-only Vegetable Fermentation
We recommend salt-only fermented vegetables at CFH, for many reasons:
- Salt pulls out the moisture in food, denying bacteria the aqueous solution they need to live and grow.
- Salt allows the natural bacteria that exist on the vegetables to do the fermenting. Only the desired salt-tolerant Lactobacilli strains will live and propagate.
- By suppressing the growth of other bacteria and mold, salt provides a slower fermentation process that is perfect for cultured vegetables that are to be stored for longer periods of time.
- Salt hardens the pectins in the vegetables, leaving them crunchy and enhancing the flavor.
- Use 1-3 tablespoons of our authentic, finely-ground Celtic Sea Salt per quart of water to prepare brine for fermenting vegetables.
Method #2: Salt-free Vegetable Fermentation
- Salt-free ferments, while often more bio-diverse, can result in mushy vegetables and mold.
- Some freeze-dried starter cultures may be used on their own, without salt (see Method #3, below). Always follow the instructions included with the freeze-dried starter culture, for best results.
Method #3: Salt Plus Starter Cultures
While we recommend a salt-only ferment for vegetables, the following starter cultures may be used in addition to salt, if desired.
- Whey is dairy-based, so may not work for everyone. Make sure the whey is properly strained and fresh-tasting, as it will lend its flavor to the batch. Add salt along with the whey for flavor and to keep the vegetables crunchy.
- Freeze-Dried Starter Cultures: When using a freeze-dried starter culture, follow the instructions included with that culture, for best results. Click here to see a comparison of the starter cultures we carry for cultured vegetables.