I’ve been obsessed with lacto-fermented foods ever since a dear friend of mine turned me on to their gut healing health benefits a few years ago.
She ferments everything from carrots to sweet potatoes to lemons, and even brews her own kombucha.
Talk about #goals, y’all!
Then she arranges them in pretty mason jars around her kitchen. It’s a beautiful, delicious sight to be surrounded by so much nourishing, homemade food…and I feel like I’ve stepped back in time whenever I’m in her kitchen.
So, what the heck is lacto-fermentation?
Great question! Pull up a chair and grab a yummy beverage…I promise, it’s interesting and you’re gonna’ be hooked!
Lacto-fermentation is the process by which lactic acid bacteria metabolizes sugar and creates lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Got that? Yeah, me either.
Simply put, lacto-fermentation is a process of natural food preservation, like pickling.
However, unlike pickling, it does not require a vinegar brine — all you need is salt and water. You can, of course, add herbs and spices but at a minimum, fermenting only requires two simple ingredients.
While individuals are most familiar with pickling using vinegar, lacto-fermentation is the healthier, more natural alternative because the high concentration of salt allows the ‘good for you’ bacteria, like Lactobacillus, to thrive while killing off the yucky bacteria.
Leaving veggies and fruit out on the counter for days or weeks sounds hazardous but it’s not. While lacto-fermentation may seem confusing and a bit frightening, it’s a hundred percent safe and totally delicious!
I like to think of lacto-fermentation as occurring in three stages.
Stage #1. Veggies, or fruit, are completely submerged in a salty brine that kills off all harmful bacteria.
Stage #2. The bacteria that is good for us survives (hooray, Lactobacillus!) and converts the lactose and sugars in the veggies/fruit into lactic acid.
Stage #3. Lactic acid is a natural preservative. It safely preserves the veggies or fruit, while also preserving nutrients.
I make a concerted effort to eat as many lacto-fermented foods as possible because of their amazing health benefits.
They are packed with probiotics and so great for your gut, and are a powerful cure for a variety of health issues! The taste of lacto-fermented veggies, like this delicious salsa, is incomparable. Fermentation brings out the true flavor of foods. I love this roasted lacto-fermented salsa — it’s delightfully fizzy, fresh and full of nutrients!
Also, food in mason jars, y’all…
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes roasted
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic diced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 lime juiced
Pulse cherry tomatoes, onion, green onions, cilantro and garlic in a food processor.
Add salt, water and lime. Stir.
Pour into a quart size jar and seal tightly.
Leave on the counter, in cool and dry room for 3 days.
Once opened, transfer to the fridge.