This little writeup will get you on track for creating what I would consider to be our EASIEST recipe ever developed here at Raw Rutes. BUT. It is the building block for nearly every fermented food project out there! That's right. It's brine!
Rather than bore you with science (and because I am not a scientist) we will get down the basics. The veggies you ferment at home must be submerged in a salty environment to become delicious and prevent pathogens. For best results that environment should be around 3.5% salt. Regular water simply won't do. While you could try to just add some water to your fermentation vessel (without adding extra salt) you would be diluting the salt content of the recipe, which is not a good idea.
It makes sense on the most basic level. Think about how a tidal pool at the beach can sit for days or weeks without becoming moldy (even without being refreshed by the tide) while a puddle of rain can become stagnant and stinky in just days. Salt water helps to inhibit bad bacteria from flourishing. Now a disclaimer for those of you who will start writing to me: I am not suggesting you go drink sea water or ferment your veggies in it! Just making a comparison.
Choosing the right water.
Yes, it's one of our nations biggest achievements! The vast majority of Americans' households have access to fresh, running water! Unfortunately if it comes to you from a municipal supply, it's probably not a great choice for fermented foods. At least not at first. We'll circle back to that in a minute.
Some great choices are:
It's worth noting that while chlorine is definitely not helpful to vegetable fermentation, but for as far as fluoride presence it is more of a personal choice. While writing this piece I did come across a study of fermentation and fluoride going back to the 1950s. The fermentation that was studied involved yeast and was based around the beer brewing industry. None the less, they found a noticeable difference in the development of the yeast strains when the concentrations of fluoride in the water increased. While these concentrations were much higher than found in municipal water, and though yeast is different from lacto-bacteria, it is still interesting to think about.
It's also important to use good quality salt for creating your brine.
DO NOT USE:
GREAT TO USE:
To get your brine started, just add a generous teaspoon of salt to 1 Cup of the water of your choice, and stir to dissolve. Top off any fermenting veggies until they are completely covered with the liquid. If needed, add more. Have fun!