People often hear “sauerkraut” and think of vinegary limp vegetables in a can or bag, but at The Brinery, we transform vegetables through the process of lacto-fermentation. Our name tells you everything you need to know about this ancient art of food preservation – we add a natural salt brine to farm fresh vegetables. That’s it.
We find ancient scholars from Confucius to Pliny the Elder extolling the merits of this method of food preservation. But this simple technique is handed down to us through the cultural continuity of community and agriculture. Needing to preserve the harvest for their family and friends, people came together during peak seasons and chopped, salted, and fermented vegetables together as many hands made light work.
The ingredients are simple, but the microbial ballet that unfolds under the brine produces a delicious and nutritious food that will store and retain nutrition far longer than vegetables in their raw state. As the salt and anaerobic (oxygen free!) environment stifle harmful bacteria and prevent decay, the beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus) multiply and go to work eating the sugars in the vegetables and converting them to lactic acid and carbon dioxide – the sour taste and fizzy bubbles!
Unlike heat canning and vinegar pickling, lacto-fermenting vegetables is a low-energy way of letting bacteria do the work for you. While heating vegetables can deplete them of nutrients, fermenting actually retains vitamins, produces beneficial lactobacillus, and predigests some of the plant material, making more nutritive elements available to our bodies.