I want to do some fermenting (beets, carrots, onions, and maybe some eggs.)
But I can't find starter cultures or whey at a store.
I don't want to mash up my items either, I like nice big picked chunks.
I was thinking I could mash up a pro-biotic pill and just use that, it's all lacto and bifido bacteria in there… but maybe way too much?
I know I don't have to use starter but since I don't plan to shred my things I thought maybe it was best.
Yes, if you like with pills having only lacto-bacillus (there are many variants, usually more than one in a pill).
BTW you can get whey from yogurt having live cultures. The liquid the forms at the top is whey, and using a cheese cloth to hang the whole thing so liquid falls out is one way to get all of it.
Here are a couple of articles on fermenting whole cabbages:
You actually don't need a starter culture at all. Just a brine to promote the right environment that selects for lacto already on most vegetables to proliferate. Course I'd use local fresh veggies to start with.
Check out http://www.wildfermentation.com/
I do this with all kinds of vegetable, but haven't tried eggs. That may be a different story.
The general rule of thumb for fermented veggies is:
Per QUART of veggies:
1 Tbsp salt 4 Tbsp whey
If you don't use whey, they say to double the salt. (I would recommend using the whey, though, since otherwise I think things just get too salty.) Agree with everyone else here -- make whey at home by buying a good quality organic yogurt (grassfed if you can find it, obviously) and straining it into cheesecloth.
The whey will start dripping through pretty quickly, but if you let it sit for a few hours (or even overnight), you'll have lots of whey that will keep in the fridge for several weeks (if not months), and the yogurt that's left will have thickened up into "yocheese" -- basically as thick as cream cheese, and you can use it the same way. Keep it plain, or add your favorite herbs/spices to make a flavored spread you can put on whatever you want. (If you do grain-free "crackers", this would be great on them.)
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