Fermenting Lacto-fermented Foods with Yeast
The first step in making any fermented food is to get some lactobacillus bacteria into your kitchen. There are many different types of lactobacilli (lactic acid producing organisms) but there are two main species: Lactococcus lactis and Pediococcus brevis. These two species have been used extensively in cheese production and yogurt making.
They are also commonly found in milk products such as yogurt and kefir.
Lactobacillus is a good source of energy for the body, which helps keep us healthy. A few studies have shown that these bacteria may even prevent or cure certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Other benefits include improving digestion, increasing immunity and boosting brain function.
There are several ways to grow these bacteria naturally in your home. You could buy kits from online stores like Amazon or eBay, or you could use a simple culture that you make yourself. The easiest way to do it is using a starter culture.
A starter culture is just a mixture of live cultures of lactobacilli and other microorganisms that are usually added at the beginning of the process of growing them in order to create a balanced environment for growth.
You can buy these starter cultures from online stores or from a supplier in your area. If you are feeling adventurous you could try and make your own as well. You should be able to find relatively easy to follow guides on the internet, or ask an expert.
Once you’ve acquired your starter culture, it’s time to get your hands dirty! There are a few different methods you can use, but the two most common ones are using a vegetable or fruit. If you are new to this process, it’s best to start with a vegetable because if anything goes wrong you’re not out of a lot of money!
Your first step is to chop your vegetables and mix them in a big bowl. You should then add a few tablespoons of salt for every 5-7 pounds of vegetables. The salt is what helps create the ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow and become strong, don’t forget this step!
The next step is to mash the vegetables until they become a thick liquid. Some people use a machine for this step, but a wooden spoon will work just fine. The goal is to get all of the air bubbles out of the mixture.
After the vegetables have been mashed, you need to add your starter culture (you did remember to add it right?
) and stir in it thoroughly. Place the bacteria filled goop into a clean plastic bin and put the lid on it. This bin will help the mixture stay warm, which is necessary for growing the bacteria. If you don’t have a bin, any airtight container will work. You could also use a trash bag and rubber band it to keep out most of the air (remember: make sure it’s unsealed so oxygen can get in). Place the container somewhere warm, such as an attic, garage or closet.
If you are concerned about the smell that may come from the mixture, you can place the container in a larger garbage bag and then place it in an out-of-the-way place as described above. The bacteria should start to grow within a few hours or days. You will know it’s working because you will see some changes in the color and consistency of the goop.
It should start to look kind of watery and the color will change to a light brown or yellow. It should also have a somewhat sour smell to it, which gets stronger as the bacteria grows.
Once you’ve reached this stage, you can move on to growing it even more. If you have the equipment and ability, you can pasteurize the mixture and then bottle it yourself. If not, you can just buy some of the ready-to-drink kombucha that is available from many health food stores and Whole Foods.
These tend to be more expensive though, so if you’re on a budget it’s best to grow your own.
Remember, as the bacteria grows it eats up most of the sugar, so you will want to replenish it. You can do this by stirring in some honey (raw is best) into the mixture once every couple of days. This will keep the bacteria fed and give it what it needs to stay strong and healthy.
It will also prevent it from eating up all of the sugar that’s in the tea, so you can still drink some of it!
If you want to start making different types of kombucha, don’t throw out your old batch! You can add fruits, tea and other flavorings to it without harming the bacteria. It’s also a good idea to keep the container of kombucha you started with so that you can use part of it to make a new batch.
This way the bacteria is never diluted and will stay strong for longer.
Kombucha is a powerful probiotic that will help keep your gut healthy and ward off any potential bad bacteria that may try to attack it. The process of growing your own kombucha is a little involved, but it’s easy to do as long as you follow the steps closely. Be sure to take good care of the bacteria by giving it what it needs to stay strong and you’ll have fresh kombucha for years to come!
Brianna Mills is the proud owner of Zini Natural Skin Care, a California based company that has been offering premium natural and organic skin care products since 2008.
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By Brianna Mills Kombucha is a type of sweetened black tea that has been fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast species, most commonly known as “the mother”.
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