When selecting produce make sure that your produce is fresh as this is the backbone of good fermented foods. Whenever possible use organic produce, make sure that you wash the produce thoroughly to avoid easy contamination of the food.
Salt for vegetables
The quantity and quality of salt you add when fermenting your vegetables affects the end result. Higher salt quantities will preserve the vegetables and keep them crunchy while lower salt quantities will result in soft ferments. Too much salt will slow down the fermentation process. Salt like pink Himalayan salt that has not been stripped of its minerals and does not have added chemical conditioners or bleach is highly recommended.
Select a fermentation jar that completely blocks out entry of oxygen. Oxygen is an enemy when it comes to fermentation. Absence of oxygen during the fermentation process results in the food preserving its colour and crisp taste. Once you have oxygen present it negatively affects the food by causing discolouration, a yeast smell, slime and in extreme cases mould.
When selecting which equipment to use for fermentation, a ceramic crock pot is the best option as it is non-reactive and a much healthier option to plastic. Most crock pots can ferment a large quantity of produce at one go, saving you time and money.
Temperature is another important factor when making fermented foods. The bacteria that ferments the food and is needed for the digestive system thrives at certain temperatures but it will die if the mixture gets too hot. Always ensure that you stick to the temperature on your recipe.
DO NOT consume any fermented foods that have mould on them, and no you cannot scrape of the mould as you never know how deep the roots of the mould are. This is a type of fungi that is not suitable for the human digestive system. Some types of mould have been found to cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems, given the right conditions, they can produce "mycotoxins" which weaken the digestive system making you more susceptible to illnesses.
To keep track on when each food was fermented it is best to label it. This will help you keep track of what you are fermenting, and when your ferment is ready.