I've been thinking about adding fermented vegetables to our diet. The WAPF folk seem very keen on lacto-fermentation, and I've been considering that. Our last chick in the nest, my 16-year-old son, loves milk, cheese and yogurt, and I was considering making him some yogurt with the vat-pasteurized milk we buy, raw milk being an "iffy" proposition where I live, and straining some for the whey to use for the fermentation process.
Now, having said that, I've recently removed dairy from my diet in an attempt to treat my chronic congestion/dry throat. While these conditions have not disappeared, they have been greatly mitigated and I have no plans to consume any dairy beyond the occasional use of ghee (I clarify the butter myself) and very small amounts of goat cheese, neither of which seem to bother me much in moderate amounts.
My question is, I guess, is there casein in whey, or should I attempt to ferment vegetables with salt alone? That sounds a lot less appealing, frankly.
Cultures for Health offers a couple of starter cultures that are derived from vegetable ferments instead of whey - that may be a good option for you.
When I've made sauerkraut, I've just used cabbage and salt and it turned out fine (yet surprisingly crunchy). I followed the recipe on wildfermentation.com. I believe that you can also save some juice from a previous vegetable ferment for use as a starter culture for your next vegetable ferment.
On a side note, I'm currently enrolled in an online fermentation class offered through NourishedKitchen.com. We haven't gotten to the fermented vegetables lesson yet, but I've successfully completed lessons on such things as coconut milk yogurt (yum!), kombucha, and lacto-fermented ketchup. I'm having a blast with all of my fermentation experiments. By the way, I'm just using a mason jar with an airlock on the lid for my sauerkraut fermentation. They are a bit less expensive than a crock. You can find them on the Cultures for Health website as well.
Have fun, and welcome to the strange and geeky world of fermentation!
Yes, there is casein in whey, lots of it. You could do a vinegar cure or find a good kimchi recipe if you want fermented vegetables. It's a good way to start out before experimenting with other methods. I would not recommend doing just a salt cure, especially since it may irritate your dry throat.
Edit: Just wanted to clarify the casein in whey statement. If you pull the whey off homemade yogurt, it will have casein in it, residual casein that did not get processed into the yogurt solids. Commercially, that why would get further filtered and purified into Whey Protein Isolate. Whey Protein Isolate has trace amounts of casein that have no significant impact. Hope this helps.
I have made a few rounds of fermemnted vegetables and pickles, and I have yet to add whey. I can see it's theoretical use as a culture-helper, but I jest vent with veggies, salt and water. I admit that the first time i tried it, I went to the store and bought a live culture jar of sauerkraut, just so I know that the veggies would have the 'right' bacteria on them to start. I was approaching it as if it was a sourdough culture, and that having a good known source at the front is a great set of 'training wheels' for fermentation
I love this one pager. http://www.wildfermentation.com/resources.php?page=vegetables
LAB might make a good preservative for keeping veggies fresh in shipping and storage. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/1996/bacteria996.htm
I was just stressing out about this last night! I originally wanted to make pickled beets after stumbling upon this recipe, where the blogger claims that whey has only the "tiniest" amount of casein. Whether that's true or not, it seemed like a bit of hassle to find out. Casein makes me all mucous-y, so I really was unsure about going through the process of buying yogurt, straining it for whey, and then likely throwing out the yogurt or having to find a friend would wanted it.
I finally made pickled cucumbers and beets last night without the whey, using extra salt. I'm not why using salt alone is less appealing to you? To me, it sounds like a lot less work to get the same lacto-fermented vegetables.
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