Lactofermentation Saves Fuel and Resources
In the Introduction to Lactofermentation Part I we discussed several health reasons for learning Lactofermentation as a survival skill. In this installment we’ll talk about another HUGE advantage that Lactofermentation provides over canning.
That advantage is a lack of need of any electrical, heat, water or fuel source. If you have vegetables and salt, then you can store food for years just as effectively as canning.
Energy Requirements of Canning
Canning is energy intensive. You MUST have either electricity or an intense fire source. Since canning equipment and utensils MUST be sterile, high heat levels need to be maintained for long periods of time and ideally a pressure cooker should be used to provide the highest level of sterility possible. And this requires energy. Those with electric stoves will be dependent upon their source of energy for canning. Those with propane stoves, in emergency situations, may not be able to rely on their propane tanks getting refilled and may be loathe to have foods that require such long cooking times.
While a fire could be implemented for canning, the high heat required would use a large amount of fuel. And unless the fire is prepared properly, the high amount of heat required to keep a pressure cooker under pressure for 15 to 20 minutes may not be able to be maintained steadily, which would effectively sabotage any attempt at canning.
Energy Requirements of Lactofermentation
Lactofermentation requires no electric or heat energy at all and the utensils and storage containers simply need to be soap and water clean without the need for sterility. In some lactofermented foods, such as sauerkraut, yogurt and some beverages, you don’t even need any water, making this an amazingly energy and resource efficient way of storing food. It’s so efficient that cooking these food products, either before or after processing, will undermine your efforts or ruin it’s taste and texture. HOWEVER, in the interest of safety, I must warn you that the FDA, in its infinite wisdom and concern for your health, has recommended that all lactofermented products be pasteurized for cleanliness. While you must do what you think is best, non-pasteurized lactofermented foods have been eaten for thousands and probably tens of thousands of years providing the health benefits of probiotic organisms along the way. Pasteurizing will not only destroy the ‘good bacteria’ present, but will also effectively end the shelf life of your products which will need to be either canned or refrigerated and eaten within a few days after pasteurization since the beneficial bacteria will no longer be there to fight the bad bacteria for you.
With lactofermentation, there is no need for electricity, fire or even water -and even the salts, spices and excess liquids can be reused again as flavorings for other dishes and even sports drinks- in fact, there is a commercial electrolyte beverage called ‘Pickle Juice Sport’. It is an AMAZINGLY easy and efficient process that is well worth your time to learn and to enjoy before you need it. But even if you don’t practice it ahead of time, you can learn quickly and easily by following a few simple instructions. If you’d like to learn more about lactofermentation, the books ‘Wild Fermentation’ and ‘Nourishing Traditions’ are excellent resources.