Fermenting vegetables in jars is simple, eco-friendly and now being done more and more. Workshops on lacto-fermentation are flourishing and show no sign of stopping.
So, what do you need? “A jar, water, salt and vegetables”, says Steven Dessair, the founder of the eco-friendly association Eatmosphère.
“A third of purchased food is thrown away, even though it is generally still perfectly okay. However, 10-15% of the Belgian population doesn’t have enough to eat. We need to find a way to solve this problem”, he says. He also talks about the obvious benefits for nature and the environment.
Before refrigerators arrived in the 1950s, fermentation in jars was an easy way to preserve food all year round.
Fans say there are also multiple health benefits. It is good for digestion due to the presence of fibres and probiotics, says Maxime Willems, the chef in charge of the “Funky fermenting” workshop at Eatmosphère.
“The innumerable advantages for the body are obvious, especially if you use the fermentation juice. Consuming it regularly is like an energy bomb”, says chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre. The chef has two Michelin stars and works at “L’Air du temps” restaurant in Liernu (Namur province).
Putting vegetables in a salty environment (around 3%) increases the production of good bacteria through lacto-fermentation. These bacteria turn the sugar into lactic acid and carbonic gas. The acidity preserves the vegetables for at least a year. The process takes at least 10 days to 3 weeks and can take as long as a month. It can be applied to any vegetable, as well as grains, fish… “There is no limit, except that of the imagination”.