How to Lacto-ferment Garlic
How to Lacto‐Ferment
Lacto-fermenting is an ancient process used primarily to preserve food. Before getting started, equip yourself with a good knife (or knives), a glass canning jar, some weights for the vessel, and any other tools you think you might need. Select the vegetables you want to ferment and prepare them to your liking. When you’re ready, simply pack the food into the glass canning jar with some brining liquid and let the lacto-fermentation process take over.
Choosing Fermentation Equipment
Obtain a knife that meets your needs.The knife you decide to obtain depends on the use you will be putting it towards. For instance, if you are grating vegetables, the knife you use should differ from one that is best suited to slicing or chopping.
- Paring knives are good for small, short, and precise tasks like peeling or trimming off vegetable skin.
- Serrated knives are good for slicing veggies. They have scalloped edges and should give you a smooth, clean slice.
- A chef’s knife can be used for many purposes, but is best when working with large produce like spaghetti squash or pumpkin.
Get a glass canning jar.Glass canning jars (Mason jars, especially) are the most common container for lacto-fermentation. These jars have metal lids and seal tightly to keep the fermentation process simple.
Get some weights.While it is not absolutely necessary to keep your veggies completely submerged during the lacto-fermentation process, doing so will encourage probiotic growth and prevent mold. To accomplish this, you will need to add a small weight to the glass canning jar to press down on whatever you’re fermenting. The weight should have the same (or nearly the same) diameter of the jar you’re using.
- The best weights will be of dense but thin glass. This way, they will consume a minimal amount of room inside the glass canning jar.
- Avoid using limestone weights, as they can dissolve in the acidic environment of the glass canning jar.
- Do not use wooden weights, as they will expand in the aqueous environment.
Get a pounding tool.If you intend to ferment sauerkraut or other veggies that ferment in their own juices, you’ll need a pounding tool (sometimes called a tamper) to break the vegetables apart and compress them in the glass canning jar. You might have such an object at home – a rolling pin with one handle removed works well – or you could buy a product specifically designed to compact veggies for lacto-fermentation.
Prepare your brining liquid.For quart-sized canning jars, mixing two cups of filtered water and one tablespoon of sea salt should yield enough brining liquid for the lacto-fermentation process. Set the liquid aside.
- If your glass canning jar is larger or smaller, just scale the proportions accordingly.
Add herbs and spices to your glass canning jar.Adding herbs and spices to your lacto-fermenting veggies will give the final product a pleasing flavor. You could use dried chili peppers, bay leaves, fresh basil, fresh tarragon, fresh mint, or black peppercorns. Add one or two teaspoons of each herb and spice you wish to use.
- Add these herbs and spices in any combination you desire, but it’s best not to overdo it. You should probably limit the number of herbs and spices you utilize to three or four.
Prepare and add your vegetables.Cut and dice your vegetables down to the size you want. You can slice, dice, or grate your vegetables. Some veggies, like beets or baby carrots, can be tossed in the glass canning jar without being altered at all. Once your veggies are ready, pack them in the glass canning jar, leaving enough room to add your weight (if you’re using one).
- Consider adding a mixture of vegetables to a single glass canning jar.
- If you’re making sauerkraut, use the tamper to push the kraut into the jar.
Pour the brining liquid over the veggies.With your veggies and spices in the glass canning jar, pour the brining liquid in to cover them. Fill the jar to a point about half an inch (one centimeter) from the top, or to a point that leaves enough room to add your weight (if you’re using one).
Seal the glass canning jar.If you’re adding a weight, place it on top of the food you’re lacto-fermenting. Then, close the glass canning jar tightly to prevent air from disrupting the process.
Managing the Lacto-fermentation Process
Place the vessel in a cool, dark place.Fermentation occurs best in a temperature of between 18 and 22 degrees Centigrade (64 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit).Place your glass canning jar in a climate controlled space to achieve the desired temperature.
- An absence of light also helps the fermentation process along. Place the jar in a dark closet or cover it with a thick cloth.
Burp your glass canning jar.After two or three days, the lacto-fermentation process will start. To prevent excess buildup of gasses, slowly twist the top of the sealed glass canning jar until you hear gasses start to escape. Twist it closed quickly. Repeat daily.
- Some specially-designed canning jars include an airlock that automatically ejects carbon dioxide from the vessel as it accrues. Such vessels do not need to be burped.
- Consult manufacturer directions for more information about whether burping your glass canning jar is necessary.
Move the glass canning jar to a cooler location.After two to four days in a cool-to-room-temperature location, the vessel should be moved. The target temperature is about four degrees Centigrade (40 degrees Fahrenheit). For small batches, the bottom shelf of the fridge works nicely.
Taste your lacto-fermented product.There is no single “right” time to end the lacto-fermentation process. Most people wait one to three weeks to allow the lacto-fermentation process to work. Once you’ve waited on the lacto-fermentation process as long as you wish to, remove the vessel and sample the flavor.
- You can always replace the lid and allow the fermentation process to continue for longer (though removing the lid of the glass canning jar will slow the momentum of the process).
- Experiment with the lacto-fermentation process by waiting a longer or shorter time before tasting the product. This will allow you to achieve the flavor you want.
Simmer your raspberries, sugar, and water.Combine four cups berries, one cup sugar, and two quarts (1.9 liters) water in a medium-sized pot. Turn the heat to high, then reduce to medium once it reaches a boil. Simmer the ingredients for 30 minutes.
- You could use raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or another sweet berry to make your soda.
Strain the fruit.After 30 minutes has elapsed, remove the ingredients from the heat and allow them to cool. Place a strainer over your glass canning jar, then slowly pour the ingredients into the jar. Discard the fruit solids collected in the strainer.
Add flavorings.If you want to make a hybrid flavor, you can add other fruit flavorings to the canning jar. For instance, if you wanted a lemon-raspberry soda, you could have used raspberries in your original mixture, then, after straining, you could squirt a teaspoon or two of lemon juice into the mix.
- Other popular flavorings include peppermint or spearmint.
- There is no wrong combination of soda flavors. Use whatever flavorings you like.
Add the culture.The culture will kick-start the fermentation process. The most common option is 1/2 cup (64 grams) of whey. Add it to your glass canning jar. If you don’t have any whey, you could use an equal amount of champagne yeast.
Drink the soda after about three days.Tightly close the jar and place it in your cupboard. Wait about three days before sampling your soda. If you want a less sweet soda, you can wait four or five days.
- You should be able to see your soda fizzing through the glass. This is a sign that it is ready to drink.
- When you’re ready to serve, pour your soda over ice. Enjoy drinking your lacto-fermented soda with friends.
- Lacto-fermented veggies are tasty on their own, or atop quinoa, beans, and salads. They also pair nicely with fish, chicken, or scrambled eggs.
- It would be tedious to compile a complete list of foods you could lacto-ferment. However, among the most common options for lacto-fermentation include cucumbers, beets, turnips, green tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, sweet potatoes, squash, onions, and carrots.
Video: Eat The Weeds: Lacto-Fermentation Video: 146
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