Salt and water

Brine is used in lacto-fermentation when you don’t want to grate or press the vegetables. Think cucumbers and green beans, mixed vegetables in large pieces (such as carrots, cauliflower, onions, and sugar snap peas), and even leaves and berries can be lacto-fermented this way. The brine should be quite salty because a lot of it will be absorbed by the vegetables, and you want to achieve a final salt concentration of 1-2% overall. I use a brine with 4% salt for most fermentations. Think of the sea – but the Atlantic rather than the Baltic. Unrefined fine sea salt from Denival (which can be purchased in a 20kg bag) works excellently. I choose this salt because it is not highly refined, has not gone through a lot of chemical processing and doesn’t contain anti-caking agents (I am not anti cake!). However, lacto-fermentation bacteria can handle most types of salt, so start with what you have at home.

I use a measuring spoon rather than a weighing scale because I always use the same kind of salt and I know roughly what a spoon of it weighs. 10g of Denival fine sea salt is equivalent to 10ml.

Here’s how to make it:

4% brine

1 liter cold water 40g (2 generous heaping tablespoons) salt. Stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Use it for cucumbers, green beans, carrot sticks, mixed vegetables in pieces. If you like it quite salty, increase the salt concentration to 5% or even 6% (50-60g per liter of water).

3% brine

1 liter cold water 30g (2 tablespoons) salt Stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Use it for sorrel, wild garlic, grape leaves, gooseberries, rhubarb, etc. Even a 2% salt concentration (20g per liter of water) can work for berries.

What about the water?

Chlorine in the water can slow or prevent fermentation from starting (chlorine is very antibacterial), and many books suggest boiling the water and allowing it to cool before use to allow the chlorine to evaporate. In Sweden, the levels of chlorine in municipal water are very low or non-existent nowadays compared to other countries. so it is fine to use unheated tap water, hooray!

Ao it is fine to use unheated tap water, hooray!

If you are fermenting for sale and have your own well, your environment and health regulators may require water testing, which can be quite expensive. In that case, you might consider getting water in containers from a municipal water source close by (and keep a record of it) to avoid unnecessary costs.

Vine leaf

Easy as pie (much easier in fact)

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