The process of lacto-fermentation can be used to enhance the health benefits of many fruits, vegetables, and beverages. It is called lacto-fermentation because of the presence of lactobacilli (a beneficial bacteria).
Sally Fallon writes in her book, Nourishing Traditions (page 89):
“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
Learn more about lacto-fermentation here.
By utilizing this fermentation process we can turn cranberry sauce into an easily digested, probiotic condiment.
This recipe for fermented cranberry sauce is very simple to make. The only extra consideration would be ensuring you have whey on hand.
Whey can be obtained by straining plain yogurt or kefir with active cultures, but it does take several hours, so plan ahead. You can find the instructions for doing this in Wardee's post: Whey — What it is and How to Get it (there's even a video demonstration).
Or, if you're dairy-free or prefer not to use whey, you could use a starter culture such as Caldwell's, available at Wise Choice Market (click on Starter Cultures in the left-hand side bar when you get there). Just activate one package in a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar.
If the “lacto fermenting” is too daring for your family at this time, try mixing a little whey with regular cranberry sauce just before serving. This will make it probiotic!
Lacto-Fermented Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup of whey
- 1/2 cup apple juice (or grape juice)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Juice from 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon of orange zest
- Optional: 1/2 cup pecans (if you use these, you will end up with a little more than a quart)
Yields one quart.
Place all ingredients (except orange zest) in a blender or food processor.
Pulse a few times until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer mine slightly chunky.
Add orange zest and stir to distribute evenly.
Pour into a quart-sized canning jar, leaving one inch of head space. Close tightly with lid or airlock and leave at room temperature to ferment for 48 hours. (Be sure to close lid tightly as the presence of oxygen may ruin the fermentation.)
Once fermented, refrigerate. Eat within 2 months.
Note: Use caution when opening the jar, as gases can build up inside. Open the lid a little at a time to let some of the gas escape before removing the lid.
Now you have a cranberry sauce loaded with beneficial enzymes and probiotics. Serve alongside the meat of your choosing — or it's delicious as a yogurt topping!
Have you fermented cranberries or other condiments before? What are your favorite fermented condiments?
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