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The Real Food Company

48 & 50 Sandbach Road South

01270 873322

Lacto Fermented Foods

Lacto fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics. They are tasty and easy to digest and can act as aid to digestion and detoxification.

The History Of Fermentation

Fermentation has been used as a method of food preservation for thousands of years. There is evidence of cabbage being fermented in China 6000 years ago. Roman sailors carried a barrel sauerkraut with them on long voyages because they knew of its protective properties. Captain Cook took 60 barrels of sauerkraut on his voyage around the world, as he knew it would keep fresh and edible, and would help to fend off scurvy, because the fermenting of cabbage increases the availability of vitamin C.

In our more Northern realms it was traditional to preserve much of the autumn harvest by lacto fermentation methods to make the food last through the winter months. Most of the sauerkraut available today is pasteurised. Pasteurising kills the beneficial micro-flora.

Lacto Fermented Foods from Around the World

In Europe there is a history of fermenting milk into yoghurt, a familiar food to most people. There are other cultured milk products like Kefir, Piima, cultured butter and buttermilk. Sauerkraut is still popular in Central and Eastern Europe, where many people still make it in the traditional way. Many familiar foods are fermented foods, but sometimes they have been altered by modern food processing techniques. Bread is a good example. Traditionally it was made with some sort of sourdough, then people started to add yeast to it, which speeded up the process, and we ended up with modern mass produced bread. This is a long way from "real" bread. Cheese, beer, wine and salami are all fermented foods.

Many different vegetables and fruit can be fermented, such as beetroot, turnips, cauliflower, carrots, herbs, garlic and vine leaves. In Asia fermented fish is a delicacy. Many people will be familiar with miso, soy sauce, fish sauce and tempeh. They are all produced by fermentation methods. In Japan it is usual to serve pickled vegetable with meals, in Korea Kimchi is eaten daily, and in India people make chutneys, which were lacto fermented and regularly drink a fermented milk drink, Lassi. All our familiar relishes and sauces, like corn relish and tomato ketchup began as lacto fermented condiments.

How Lacto Fermentation Works

Food is preserved through the process of lacto fermentation. Lactic acid inhibits the growth of putrefying bacteria. Fruit and vegetables are naturally covered in many species of lactic acid producing bacteria, and man has learned how to control these bacteria for his benefit. With the help of the starches and sugars from the fruit and vegetables, these bacteria produce lactic acid.

This process has many benefits, other than simply preserving food. The digestibility and the bio-availability of nutrients are enhanced. Enzymes, antibiotics and other health enhancing substances are created. Lactic acid is known to promote the growth of healthy flora in the intestine.

Cultured foods are beneficial foods that are easy to digest, even for people with compromised digestion or those who are poorly.

It is best to use high quality ingredients such as home grown or organic fruit and vegetables and unrefined Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt. Both these salts contain all the natural minerals and no additives, and are essential to our wellbeing. It is important to use good clean water, so filtered or bottled is best - unless you have your own water source! The mineral levels can be enhanced even more by adding seaweeds or perhaps Seagreens. It seems the lactic acid creating bacteria love minerals, and this can help to ensure a successful fermentation.

Fermentation is not an exact science and the outcomes can vary. This is why these methods have been lost at a commercial level.

However, we do have some live fermented products available in our shop:

  • Raw Sauerkraut with White Cabbage
  • Raw Red Cabbage Kraut
  • Raw Kimchi
  • Raw Latino Kraut
  • Raw Pickled Garlic
  • Raw Mixed Vegetable Medley
  • Raw Cortido
  • Raw Beet Kvaas
  • Raw Salsa
  • Raw Miso
  • Yoghurt
  • Kombucha
  • Raw Cheeses
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil