Lactic fermentation is an ancient method used by many peoples throughout the world for preserving vegetables. Even before cultivating vegetables, man fermented wild plants.
Lacto fermented cabbage was already known in China some six thousand years ago and served as a staple food for those who built the Great Wall of China. It is thought the Mongols of Northern China brought it with them and its use spread throughout Europe by migrating tribes. Today the dish known as "sauerkraut" is still the German national dish, but versions of it are prepared in most European countries, from England to Russia. James Cook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages, since experience had taught him that it prevented scurvy.
This acquired knowledge was important to the survival of humans as it enabled them to preserve recently harvested foods and save them for the winter months when fresh food was scarce.
Many peoples, in particular the Koreans, the Japanese and the Northern and Central Europeans, have used lactic fermentation as a practical method of preservation, as well as for the particular flavour the process gives to foods.
Kimjang, the tradition of making and sharing of kimchi that usually takes place in late autumn, was added to the list (UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) as "Kimjang, making and sharing kimchi in the Republic of Korea". The practice of Kimjang reaffirms Korean identity and strengthens family cooperation. Kimjang is also an important reminder for many Koreans that human communities need to live in harmony with nature. (Wikipedia®)
With the development of pasteurization and freezing as methods of preservation, this more traditional technique has fallen into disuse in most "developed" countries. As a result, poor gut health in these countries has become widespread.
There are still many common foods that you may be surprised to learn are fermented such as coffee, chocolate, certain teas, olives, sourdough bread, cheese, cultured butter, salami, wine, yogourts and their kin, to name but a few.
Great Wall of China at sunrise. Built c.220–206 BC. Photo: ShutterstockKimchi pots in South Korea. Photo: ShutterstockJangdokdae, large ceramic vessels used to ferment Kimchi. Photo: ShutterstockA variety of fermented foods at Gwangjang Market in Seoul, Korea. Photo: ShutterstockTypical Bavavian beer garden fare: sauerkraut, horseradish, sausages and beer. Photo: Shutterstock<>1 - 5x
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Today, however, the medical establishment is faced with a new and worrisome phenomenon, as an increasing number of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Alternative solutions are being sought for the prevention and the treatment of infectious diseases.
Raw fermented foods are empirically known as an important factor contributing to health and disease prevention, and researchers throughout the world are now looking into the scientific basis for the therapeutic qualities of fermented foods.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Our raw cultured vegetables are the result of a natural ancestral process called "lactic fermentation" or "lactic acid fermentation".
They are organic, unpeeled and unpasteurized, and therefore contain not only the fibres, minerals, vitamins and trace-elements found in freshly-harvested vegetables, but also enzymes, lactic bacteria and lactic acid, which are all important for your health.
Here are some of the health benefits offered by our products:
• The live lactic bacteria that are involved in the production of our products are so beneficial to health that they have often been called "life preserving agents".
• They contribute to the protection of the body against infections and stimulate the immune system.
• They improve the digestion process by regulating the level of acidity in the digestive tract and by stimulating the production of beneficial intestinal flora.
• They act as anti-oxidants.
• They facilitate the synthesis of certain vitamins, such as vitamins C and B12 (which can only be produced in the presence of lactic bacteria).
• They are known to have a soothing effect on the nervous system.
• In producing lactic acid and enzymes, the lactic bacteria also facilitate the break-down of proteins and hence their assimilation.
• Our fermented vegetables are recommended for diabetics, since the sugar content of vegetables is transformed by lactic bacteria into a more assimilable form.
• The lactic acid contained in our products does not have the harmful acidifying effect on the human system that other organic acids tend to have. In fact, it helps prevent arthritis.
Caldwell Bio Fermentation, in association with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), are the first to apply sustained microbiological research and practical production know-how to the traditional practice of lacto fermentation.
In 2007, the team was awarded the FPTT Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for the successful commercialization of this process.
The scientific literature regarding the health benefits of lactic fermentation is voluminous. Following are just a couple of the many publications on the subject:
• A major study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entitled "Fermented Fruits and Vegetables - a Global Perspective". Click here to read it.
• A press release from the University of North Carolina concerning the research on lactic acid bacteria (LAB) performed by Dr. Fred Breidt. Click hereto read it.
We have completed a comparative study of the three main fermentation options - without a starter; with whey; with a starter. Click here to download this fascinating report.
We also offer our commercial starters and our accumulated scientific knowledge and production expertise to other producers of raw cultured vegetables. Contact us for more information.
We are committed to running our business in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. We make every effort to reduce the overall impact of our activities on the environment.
The traditional practice of lacto fermentation is much less demanding on the environment than other food preservation methods, which often consume large amounts of energy for pasteurization or sterilization, and can involve chemical preservatives.
To reduce our consumption of energy still further, the fermenting room in our production facility was built into the ground, enabling a constant temperature range to be maintained with only minimal additional heating.
We use only certified organic vegetables, herbs, and spices in our recipes. This ensures that our ingredients are grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, helping to preserve the health of our soil and water for future generations.
Our lightweight BPA-free vacuum packs have several advantages over the standard glass or plastic jars, including: • Less packaging material per volume of contents; • Reduced transportation of both empty and filled packages; • Less storage space and energy for cooling.
A: Drink full-strength in small quantities or mix with fresh vegetable juice, apple juice or juice of wheat grass. For a delicious and healthy salad seasoning: mix half and half with the salad oil of your choice (nothing else!).
Q: I have a package of your fermented vegetables in my refrigerator and it's swelling. What do I do with it?
A: Because our products are unpasteurized, living foods, refermentation may occur, causing the package to swell. But this is a natural process presenting no health risk. Re-fermented vegetables will have a slightly higher lactic acid content. We suggest you use the re-fermented product within a week because, after a certain period of time, it will not be as moist. On the other hand, if the package has leaked, letting the protective gas escape, you should discard it.
Q: What do I do with it? It looks like a soup or a sauce!
A: The vacuum packaging may give this soupy look to our products. But don't be deceived. Our crisp, grated or sliced raw fermented vegetables can be tossed into salads, served as a side dish or in a sandwich or used in one of our recipes.
Q: How long can I keep the products unopened in the refrigerator?
A: Refrigeration will preserve our products unopened for several months.
Q: How long will the products keep after opening?
A: Providing you protect the product from contact with the air (oxidation), and keep the product refrigerated and immersed in its own juice, our fermented vegetables will keep for another full month or more after opening. You can do this by resealing the vacuum pack, or by using another container and compressing a good quality plastic film directly against the surface.
Q: Is it OK to freeze your products for long-term storage?
A: Yes. When vacuum-packed and unopened, our cultured vegetables can be stored frozen for up to one year. The high proportion of lactic acid protects them and prevents any degradation. Tests conducted at the Food Research and Development Centre (FRDC) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada produced the following conclusions:
• There were no detectable decreases in the concentration of ascorbic acid; in fact, the maintenance of vitamin C in the frozen product facilitated the preservation of other antioxidants and nutritional characteristics such as vitamin E and poly-phenols. The conclusion of the research was that freezing does not modify the nutritional value of our lacto fermented vegetables.
• There were no discernible differences in taste, texture, colour, or aroma compared to products that had not been previously frozen. According to a panel of testers (and numerous satisfied customers), freezing does not alter the organoleptic properties of the products.
Q: Your products have arrived partly frozen. Is it safe to refreeze them?
A: Yes. Unlike many other products, laboratory tests have shown that our lacto fermented vegetables can be safely refrozen after thawing. Refreezing does not alter the nutritional properties of our products. Nor does it change their taste, texture or colour.
Q: Why should I eat fermented vegetables when I can have fresh vegetables?
A: Because fermented vegetables are somewhat "predigested", and contain a lot of enzymes, they will be easier to digest and your body will have an easier time assimilating all the nutrients the vegetables contain. They will also help you digest and assimilate the other foods you eat.
Q: Do I have to eat the whole package at once?
A: You can, and many people will do just that. However, since fermented vegetables are highly assimilable, you do not need to eat large quantities in order to benefit from them. A 50g (2 oz) portion taken daily with your meal is sufficient to improve the digestive tract and provide a proper environment for the body's own production of friendly bacteria.
Q: Which one of your products would you recommend the most?
A: It's a question of taste. All of our products have the therapeutic qualities enumerated in our flyer and web site. We would nevertheless recommend our Beets to anyone suffering from constipation, our Daikon Radish or Black Radish to people with a sluggish liver, our Carrots as a good source of assimilable vitamin A... etc.
Q: To what category of people should the product be recommended?
A: Anyone will benefit from the consumption of raw fermented vegetables, but they are particularly beneficial for the aging, people with digestive problems, and the convalescent.
Q: I suffer from candidose. Will it not make my condition worse?
A: Many naturopaths will recommend raw fermented vegetables to people with your condition. By the way, one of the main functions of our very own unique lactic bacteria starter is to prevent the development of yeasts.
Q: I suffer from diabetes, and I am not supposed to have root vegetables. Can I take your fermented vegetables?
A: The fermentation process transforms the sugars that are naturally found in vegetables into more assimilable forms. People like you should eat root vegetables only after they have been fermented.
Q: What are the health benefits of the juices?
A: The juices are full of friendly bacteria and can be used in small quantities to facilitate digestion and restore bacterial flora.
Q: Why "lacto"? Does it contain milk or lactose? What if I am lactose-sensitive?
A: There is no milk nor milk by-products in our fermented vegetables. The term "Lacto" comes from the name biologists have given to a broad family of "friendly" bacteria which have one characteristic in common: they transform sugars into lactic acid. Some of those bacteria are specific to milk; others are specific to the vegetable domain.
Q: Is there a risk that nonylphenol (EMC's) will leach from the plastic wrapping into the vegetable?
A: The plastic material we use for packaging our products has been tested by the Food Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Products that had been packaged for more than 8 months contained no trace of nonylphenol.
Q: Are there any irradiated ingredients in your products?
A: No! Our products contain no irradiated ingredients.
Q: Are your cultured vegetables and juices gluten-free?
Q: What is the sodium content of your products?
A: The sodium content of our products varies between 1.5% and 1.8%. This represents about 15% of the recommended daily allowance per serving.
A: Fresh organic vegetables are cut up and mixed with spices, salt, spring water and our starter culture. They are then fermented in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature until the desired acidity (pH) is achieved, at which stage they are moved to a cooler room for a 2-month curing period. They are then vacuum packed for maximum freshness, and the juices are bottled for sale.
Q: Can I make my own cultured vegetables?
A: Yes, certainly. Spontaneous fermentation, i.e. fermentation with only those micro-organisms naturally present on the vegetables, is traditional but can produce variable results. In addition, when vegetables are allowed to ferment with only naturally-occurring micro-organisms, there will be wide fluctuations in taste and/or conservation since there is no way to tell which bacteria or yeast will prevail over the others. A controlled fermentation process using an appropriate starter culture is therefore recommended. Inoculating the vegetables with our starter culture makes it possible to decrease the pH to a safe level in less than 24 hours, hereby ensuring the rapid destruction of harmful micro-organisms. This is not possible with spontaneous fermentation. Caldwell Starter Culture is formulated specifically for fermenting vegetables. Please visit this page herefor more information.
Q: How are your raw cultured juices produced?
A: The juices are collected from the fermentation containers when the cultured vegetables are packaged. They are unpasteurized and undiluted.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.