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Lactic Acid Fermentation without Table Salt?  RSS feed

 
Cal Edon
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I have, very rarely, come across instructions for preserving vegetables by lactic acid fermentation that didn't involve sodium chloride. The single complete recipe involved soaking chard stems in unchlorinated water, then washing them off and changing the water, three times. I've never encountered any other way of slowing down the bacterial decay enough for preservation by acid to occur.

Are there any substitutes for sodium chloride? In a survival or post-apocalyptic scenario, true salt will be a very valuable and extremely limited resource for those of us not lucky enough to live near a mine or by the sea. I want something that can be relatively easily acquired regardless of the local environment, that's not poisonous, and that would serve the same function in LAF.

Can the mineral salts found in completely burned ash work?
 
Saybian Morgan
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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Is this an apocalyptic scenario or is there a specific health reason why salt can't be used in lacto fermentation. I know I've substituted juiced celery for that nitrate powder they put on meat to cure it, but the same could be said about lime and where will you get your citrus from for your ferments. For now salt is pouring out of our ears and during the apocalypse salt will probably be a subject of murder, but until the reckoning that never comes thought human history I have no advice to subvert salt for the sake of it. If were going judgement day circumstances we might have a wee problem not getting radioactive milk.
 
Judith Browning
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The book "Nourishing Traditions" by sally fallon says if you use whey you can cut back on the salt...I lacto ferment our suyo long cucumber slices with dill and whey from our friends goat cheese making. It is 4 Tbs whey to 1 cup filtered water plus up to a Tbs sea salt. If you don't use whey it is 2 Tbs salt to 1 cup water. I suppose raising goats is sort of a drastic solution to the prospect of no salt.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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I agree that salt is pretty cheap and readily available. I would stock up on it if you are worried about it from a prepping standpoint. As long as its in an airtight container free of moisture it will last a long time with no negative affect. I currently have 150# on hand for that very reason. If you are concerned about health reasons then I think kefir grains might work, but that is pure speculation on my part.
 
Cal Edon
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Thank you for the responses. However, I am no more interested in stockpiling processed salt and using it to make fermented foods than organic growers are in using pesticides or permaculturists in growing extensive annual crops. If you don't appreciate that, I don't need to hear from you.

Again: if anyone has heard of alternatives to the use of sodium chloride in pickling, or knows of them, I would be grateful if they would respond and tell us about them. Thanks in advance.
 
Leila Rich
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Cal, I've done plenty of fermenting, but never without salt.
Aside from controlling unwanted bacteria, salt dehydrates the cells, keeping the food 'crunchy', so be aware that anything fermented withoput salt is likely to be quite mushy.
I think it's important to kick-start the process. The faster it ferments, the les likely it is to go off. Whey is about the best innocculant I know.
Sandor Katz writes about it here .
 
Cal Edon
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What *kind* of salts have you used, Leila? There are more than just table salt. Tofu, for example, is traditionally made with magnesium chloride (nigari) or calcium sulfate (gypsum).

Do you suppose that some ancient salts, like the ashes of certain herbs that the Native Americans used as a replacement for sea salt, might serve as well as sodium chloride?
 
Leila Rich
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Cal, I use NZ sea salt, which has many valuable minerals other than sodium chloride.
I would never use 'table salt', but we may have different understandings of what that means.
Over here, 'table salt' is iodised sodium chloride, and that is terrible for fermenting, as iodine is antibacterial.
You have probably gathered that you are on a different path than the others who have posted on this thread. I love it when people want to look at different options, but for me, naturally dehydrated sea salt is likely to be a more sustainable product than gypsum, for eg, which is obtained exlusively by mining in NZ.
I have no idea about using herbs; as far as I know, sea salt was a hugely valuable trade commodity for traditional societies.
 
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