Got questions? We answer the common ones.
There is absolutely no dairy or animals involved in Lactofermentation. The “Lacto” in Lactofermentation refers to the beneficial lactobacillus bacteria that are ultimately responsible for fermented vegetables’ flavour and texture. Lactobacillus bacteria produce lactic acid, which both gives that vinegary tang to the fermented vegetable and also preserves it with acidic lactic acid it makes.
This is the best way to describe our fermented products and our philosophy. “Raw” indicates that the vegetables have not been cooked, thereby preserving all of their nutrients. “Living” means that the vegetables are full of the beneficial microbes responsible for the fermentation process and beneficial when consumed. “Naturally Fermented” indicates that traditional fermentation methods are used. Vegetables, salt and the naturally occurring beneficial microbes present on the vegetables and in the environment are all that is required (along with a sealed container and lots of patience to wait out the fermentation process!)
No, The Cultured Foodie products are not pasteurized. The pH is tested after four weeks (for the sauerkraut) and 1.5 weeks (for the kimchi). If it is below 4, they are ready to be jarred and refrigerated.
For optimal flavour, texture and shelf-life, refrigeration is highly recommended. Refrigeration decelerates fermentation. The beneficial microbes become more sluggish at lower temperatures and slow the breaking down of the vegetables.
Glad you asked!
1. Lactofermentation makes the food more digestible. The foodsource of the beneficial microbes responsible for Lactofermention is the polysaccharides (the complex carbohydrates we have a hard time digesting). Once these are predigested for us, we can eat the vegetable without any discomfort and more readily access its nutrients with less effort than our digestion would have required.
2. Lactofermentation makes the food more nutritious. The “waste products” of fermentation by the microbes include specific B vitamins and an elevated level of Vitamin C (up to 35% of your daily requirement). You get more vitamin C from fermented cabbage than from raw cabbage!
Salt has many functions in fermentation. It helps to draw out the liquids from the vegetables to kickstart the fermentation process and create a brine. It helps to keep the vegetable firm during fermentation. Salt also helps create an acidic environment that is deadly for pathogenic microbes such as mould but great for benefits such as lactobacillus bacteria to thrive.
Don’t worry! This residue is a by-product of the beneficial microbes and minerals from the unrefined sea salt we use to ferment our products.
That is a good sign that the beneficial microbes responsible for fermentation are alive and active in your jar! Kimchi seems to be the most active ferment, so we advise opening the jar over a bowl to catch any spillover when you first open it.
For optimal flavour and texture, we gauge the shelf life to be approximately six months. However, you can safely keep the ferment for at least a few weeks past the best before date. You will find the texture softer and the flavour stronger over time. Keeping the jar refrigerated and the lid tightly closed and using clean utensils to remove the ferment from the jar also reduces the chance of contamination.
Not at the moment, but we are planning to be Certified Organic in the next few years. We seek out the cleanest, ethically sourced ingredients and use unrefined sea salt. Please note that 95% of the ingredients used in our products are sourced locally to ensure quality, freshness and to support our Quebec farmers. It is also important to note that cabbage has been labelled as one of the “Clean 15” as it is considered one of the safest vegetables to eat even if it is not organic. (see this article https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php for more information).
All the Cultured Foodie products are gluten-free and produced in a facility free of gluten products. All The Cultured Foodie products are Vegan, except for the Classic Kimchi, which contains fish sauce and dried shrimp.
Don’t toss the brine! You can add it to salad vinaigrettes, use it as a marinade for your favourite protein, use it as “gut shots” (the brine is packed with beneficial microbes!)
We use a “dry brine” method, which means we add salt to the sliced cabbage and massage and pound out the cabbage to help it release its juices. The juice from the cabbage mixes with the salt to create a brine that will protect the cabbage from pathogens and create a positive environment for the beneficial bacteria to thrive and multiply. This method is more labour-intensive than using a conventional brine (adding saltwater), but we prefer the result with the dry-brine method and hope you do as well!