Q. I’m trying to get some information about how long to ferment homemade mayonnaise using the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. Sally Fallon (Morell) and Mary Enig suggest leaving it out at room temperature for about 7 or 8 hours. I have read online that this may not be sufficient time for fermentation in mayonnaise. Should may be fermented at room temperature for at least 24 hours to reap the full benefits of fermentation?
A. I would not suggest leaving mayo out for 24 hours. I would be concerned about leaving the mayo out any longer than 8 hours since it contains eggs.
Q. My question is in regard to some of the recipes from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I received this book as a gift last December and have been enjoying this book immensely. I have prepared 18 recipes so far with great success including digestive health benefits profoundly.
However, every now and then, the outcome of a recipe may be questionable, in which (luckily) I have been able to resolve relatively easily by searching answers online. Optimally, I would like to receive feedback from the author herself, whom I have come to respect, admire, and trust greatly. The book’s Kitchen Tips and Hints have not been able to address some of my concerns and I failed to find other areas throughout her book to answer my questions as well.
Which brings me to writing this email today regarding my current dilemma regarding a batch of Beet Kvass I just opened this evening.
I have been making this recipe since January with a somewhat consistent outcome. Earthy, salty, sometimes fizzy sometimes not. But my BIG question relates to the sludgy, slimy, thick, deep red stuff I am looking at today. When pouring it out of my glass jar, it was so thick, barely movable. No abnormal smell. Very small taste revealed nothing abnormal. But honestly, the syrupy goopy texture has me perplexed and very reluctant to consuming the unsightly brew.
Is this just a normal outcome that I have not experienced before? Can you tell me what this might indicate? Is it safe and filled with the wonderful beneficial properties the other batches yielded?
A. Yes, some of my batches are like that also. Mary Enig explained that this is caused by colonies of bacteria that create long filaments. So it is basically a healthy outcome. To consume, just use a fork to break up the colonies, mixing the beet kvass with a little water.
Q. If I am making sourdough bread do I need to start with sprouted flour or is that redundant? What are the uses for sprouted flour? Is it for when you are not going to ferment your batter overnight? I also just got some rye flour to make a starter, and wonder how long the flour is shelf stable for.
A. The best thing is freshly ground flour that is soaked or made into lacto-fermented (sourdough) bread. If you are going to soak your flour, there is no particular need to buy sprouted flour. I am not sure how long the rye flour lasts, but I would store it in your fridge or even freezer until you use it.
Q. I am trying to research whether traditional food preparation methods increase the lysine content in grains and any other foods since I have a virus and need to stick to higher lysine foods. Do you have any research or information on this? Particularly involving sprouting nuts and sprouting/fermenting grains?
A. No, I don’t, but I think the sourdough technique would increase lysine. See
Q. Modern fermenting recipes say to refrigerate food after fermenting, yet in the past there was no refrigeration, and my understanding is that fermenting was one way to keep foods for later in the year and people fed until the following year’s crops were harvested. Was there something more that our ancestors did to preserve their fermented foods that is not possible for us nowadays?
A. Typically they stored them in the ground–and in the case of Europeans, in a cool cave or root cellar. Most people get a small fridge and keep it at a relatively warm temperature.
Q. I am making traditional fermented root beer. It is supposed to sit out, sealed for three to four days, then placed in the fridge for two to three days before drinking. The instructions give a warning that there’s a possibility it can explode, but they don’t say how to prevent that. Do you know if it’s OK to burp it for a second in order to prevent explosion or will that stop the fermentation?
A. Use strong bottles, made for carbonated beverages (not thin vinegar bottles). Yes, you should absolutely “burb” or “bleed” the bottles, probably several times.
Q. On the one hand, lactic acid is present in many fermented foods and considered to be beneficial to our health. On the other hand, a build-up of lactic acid in blood may lead to stiffness of muscles and even – in the case of heart muscles – to heart failure.
So, is lactic acid good or bad for human body? Or maybe it is good in our intestine (fermented foods) but it does not cross into our blood?
A. Good question!! It depends on where the lactic acid is. In the digestive tract, it is beneficial. But trapped in your cells, and especially heart cells, it can be detrimental. Lactic acid in the digestive tract comes from fermentation by bacteria, and from lacto-fermented foods. But in the cells it is the waste product of energy metabolism, which the cell has a hard time getting rid of.
Q. I looked in your book Nourishing Traditions for the fermented meat recipe.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the recipe. I only found a fermented fish. Can you tell me the name of the fermented meat recipe?
A. There is no recipe in Nourishing Traditions for fermented meat, but traditional salami is a fermented meat–use the Weston A. Price Foundation shopping guide to find brands that really do ferment the meat.
Q. Do you have any information on whether the bacteria in yogurt (and other fermented foods) survives the stomach acid? My physician told me that it doesn’t help to consume yogurt since most of the bacteria in the yogurt will not survive in the stomach due to the acid. Therefore, most of the bacteria will not make it to the intestinal tract alive. Is this true? Is there any benefit from consuming yogurt?
A. Actually, studies have shown that the good bacteria in milk products survive the stomach acid and reaches the small intestine, probably because these bacteria are buffered by the calcium in the milk.
Q. I have had kombucha on and off for the past eight years and like it. I presently have a low grade tumor that is cancerous in my right breast and it is highly treatable because of the size (5mm) and the type. Over and over I read that sugar is not good for any cancer scenario. Yet the sugar in kombucha is used up upon fermentation producing glucuronic acid which is a powerful boost to the immune system… I would appreciate any feedback on the sugar in kombucha.
A. Many of the commercial brands of kombucha are quite sweet, and do need to be avoided. Best to make your own and let it get as sour as vinegar–this would be very good for you.
Q. Can the bacteria found in yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables survive the stomach acid and colonize the gut? There are some claims that the bacteria in kefir can survive the stomach acid and colonize the gut, but bacteria in yogurt cannot.
A. There are studies showing that bacteria in fermented milk products survive the stomach acid, and also in fermented (uncooked) porridges. So I would think that the bacteria in fermented vegetables would survive also.
Q. Can you make fermented juices in Sally Fallon’s book with stevia instead of sugar? I do not want to feed any cancer cells or candida even with Rapidura!
A. No it will not work with stevia. You need some kind of real sugar for the bacteria to feed on. They transform the sugars into lactic-acid, so make sure the fermented beverages long enough for them to become sour.
Q. I have read several reports online suggesting that ‘whey’ should not be used as an inoculant when fermenting vegetables as it does not contain the appropriate bacteria strains needed to culture vegetables. And that vegetables require different bacteria than those that come from dairy and the strains within whey. See the article and its sources below;
Are you able to comment on this? I have purchased the Nourishing Traditions book specifically to start culturing foods and now I feel unsure as to whether I am doing the right thing or not?
A. The method of using whey comes from Germany, it is a traditional method. And it really does work well, especially for small quantities. For sauerkraut, however, you don’t need to use whey but for the fruit ferments, it is a real necessity–otherwise they will spoil or go to alcohol.