Which fermenting starter is best: salt v whey

I’ve been making my own ferments for a while now. It started a few years back with pickled daikon and sauerkraut and has developed into a passionate hobby. I’ve recently added fermented turmeric tonic,  kombucha, ginger-ade soda, cream cheese, beet and turmeric kvass. My next book is going to take things to even mouldier levels!

turmeric fermentation
Three generations of turmeric experimenting… A bug, fermented tonic and then the leftovers puréed to become a cooking paste. And a hoola dancer!

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. Fermenting your vegetables is THE BEST thing you can do for restoring and maintaining the health of your gut. And the stuff is a boon for autoimmune folk like me. I’ve shared before how the process all works, the magic ingredient being a starter culture.

When I first started out, I used whey – a protein derived from dairy products (I make my own) – as a starter culture to get the fermenting process moving along.  Whey acts as an inoculant, reducing the time needed for sufficient lactic acid to be produced to ensure preservation of the food.

Using salt, or brine, is the more traditional method of lacto-fermentation. Before the invention of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve foods. Most bacteria need a warm, wet environment to thrive. Salt draws out the moisture in food, denying such a watery

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