In today’s blog post I will be sharing my 5 top tips for successful organic food fermentation.
Fermented food (for example, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha) is so good for you – its benefits are well documented and recognised today. Fermented foods contain a heap of beneficial probiotics (also known as good bacteria) which are excellent for your gut and can enable better digestion (among other things, like better immunity and overall health). Don't forget to check out Varun Venaik
However organic fermented food is notorious for being quite expensive (think $10 for a medium sized jar of organic sauerkraut), which means that learning how to ferment can save you a lot of money!
Like many non-traditional food preparation processes, fermentation can seem a little daunting for those who have never done it before. But the process is actually very simple, and with a few little tips and tricks that I’ve set out below, you will be well on your way to creating and enjoying the freshest, tastiest, and healthiest fermented produce.
Note that in this article I’m just talking about fermented vegetables, but there are a lot of other exciting fermented foods that you can make – for example sourdough bread. The process is obviously different, but the benefits are significant no matter what fermented food you’re consuming.
Use organic and fresh vegetables
This tip might be a little obvious given that my website is all about organic food, but I really don’t want to underestimate the importance of using the freshest organic vegetables (ideally ones you’ve grown yourself!) for fermentation. There is an enormous difference between the taste and quality of the end-product and the fermentation process when you use organic carrots that you have picked out from a super fresh farmers market (or from your backyard) versus carrots that you’ve picked out from a retail supermarket chain store that have travelled many miles and lack zest, quality and flavour. If you use vegetables that are decaying in any way, you are undermining the quality of your end-product.
Using organic vegetables is also critical because using vegetables grown with pesticides will hamper the fermentation process; no matter how much you wash the vegetables, it’s likely that they’ll still have some pesticide residue left, which is not ideal.
For similar reasons, when fermenting vegetables you want to use the best quality unprocessed sea salt that you can get your hands on, and ideally filtered water.
Buy a digital kitchen scale
Digital kitchen scales are essential for proper fermentation. When fermenting, precision is key. Digital kitchen scales
will enable you to precisely measure out the amount of vegetables, salt and water that you need to properly ferment. While being a bit loose with measurements and eyeballing it is sometimes okay, with fermentation accuracy is paramount to ensure the best end-product. You can also use these kitchen scales for other purposes, for example, baking.
Keep vegetables submerged under the liquid
Always make sure your vegetables are kept below the brine to mitigate the risk of bacteria or mould growing on your vegetables. Keep a watchful eye throughout the fermentation process, and if at any point you see that the brine is below the top of the vegetables, make sure to top up the jar with supplementary liquid.
Keep it simple with spices
Don’t overcomplicate your fermented produce with too many spices – keep it simple and take baby steps. Your vegetables are the star of the show, and you don’t want to overwhelm the end-product with lots of conflicting flavours! You can start small (for example, with some cumin seeds), and then gradually build up to using more spices and more complex flavours.
Embrace experimentation, and keep a fermentation journal to document any new recipes or ideas
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetables, flavours, spices, and time periods. You might find that some recipes are a raging success while others leave a bit to be desired. That’s the fun of the whole process! Whenever you try any new ingredients, recipes or processes be sure to document exactly what you did and how you did it in a fermentation journal and then document exactly how the end-product turned out as well. This will ensure you can successively improve your processes and ingredients, and ensure you avoid repeatedly making any mistakes.
Happy fermentation! Don't forget to check out Varun Venaik
One thought on “5 tips for successful organic food fermentation”
Varun Venaik this article is awesome – I’ve been trying to make my own fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha and these tips are very practical and useful. Thanks a lot!