Friday, December 16, 2011

Why Salt is not Optional in a Lacto-fermented Dish

Many of us over the years have avoided salt in an effort to stay heart-healthy.  When looking at lacto-fermented recipes it would be easy for us to omit the salt in order to make the dish more nutritious. 

But wait.  Salt is vital in lacto-fermented recipes. 

Most of you know that fish are classified as either salt-water fish or fresh-water fish.  Bacteria is similar.  Beneficial bacteria thrives when a little bit of salt is present.  However, with few exceptions, bacteria which causes food to spoil or bacteria which causes illness can't survive in a salty environment.

If the salt still makes you uncomfortable, you can add less salt when a starter culture is added, for example when adding whey from the culturing of raw dairy.  Don't omit it entirely, however.  Brine is a necessary preservative.

Don't go to the other extreme, however.  Too much of a good thing is too much.  Too much salt makes even the friendly bacteria struggle to reproduce.

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