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Lacto-fermented foods are called "The Ultimate Super Food" because they boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and reduce inflammation.

The process of lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars within the vegetables are converted to lactic acid by the friendly bacteria lactobacilli. So the term “lacto” in lacto-fermentation actually refers to this production of lactic acid, not lacto as in the lactose in milk.

All you need is:

  • A clean glass jar,
  • Vegetable(s) of your choice (recipes below),
  • Salt - without preservatives,
  • Water - free of chlorine, preferably filtered,

Vegetables should be certified Organic; pesticides may inhibit fermentation.

All recipes can be made by adding per jar EITHER 2 tbsp of salt OR 4 tbsp of whey and 1 tbsp of salt. Both work equally well.

You always want the liquid to reach to 1 inch below the top of the jar and to cover the vegetables in it. I use a rock on top of the vegetables to keep them below the liquid.

Once the jar is full of vegetable and ready, cover it tightly and leave on counter for 3 days (or until it bubbles). Then store in cold room or refrigerate.

Lacto-fermented foods keep for months or years depending on their content (see recipes). As long as they smell like pickles do, they are definitely good. Should your fermented food go bad, you will know because the smell would be sickening. So there is no way that you would possibly eat it.

A few Recipes to get you started - from the book “Nourishing Traditions ™

Fermented VegetablesDill pickles: Wash small whole gherkins or slice larger cucumbers – enough to fill a large mason jar. Place in the jar and add: 2 tbsp fresh dill, garlic if you like, 2 tbsp salt, water.
Sauerkraut: In a bowl, mix 1 cored and shredded cabbage, 1 tbsp caraway or fennel seeds, salt. Pound with wooden hammer 10 min, until juices are released. Place in jar and press down until liquid covers vegetables. Add water if needed.
Kimchee: same process as sauerkraut, except you use Napa cabbage (I use red cabbage) add a bunch green onions, 1 cup grated carrots, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1⁄2 tsp dried chile flakes. Add salt and water if needed.
Spiced Green Tomato Pickles: cut up green tomatoes, add garlic, chili peppers to taste, and a sprig of mint. Add salt, water and cover.
Ginger Carrots or Turnips: Mix 4 cups of carrots and/or turnips, cut into sticks. Just place in jar and add a small piece of ginger, salt & water.
Preserved Lemons: Wash and slice 5 organic lemons (thin skinned variety is best), cut into quarters. Toss into a bowl with 3 tbsp salt and 3 broken up cinnamon sticks. Place in a quart-sized mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder. Mix juice of 2 lemons with 2 tbsp of whey and add to jar, pressing down so that liquid covers the lemons. Cover tightly and keep on counter for up to 2 weeks, turning jar once a day before transferring to cold storage.


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