All About Fermented Foods
Fermentation vs. Pickling
Fermenting and pickling are two different ways to preserve vegetables. Pickling is a sterile process where a hot vinegar brine is added to vegetables to preserve them in a pressure sealed jar. Fermenting (specifically wild fermentation) is different. Wild fermentation occurs when a specific salt concentration is added to vegetables with water and spices and then the mixture is allowed to ferment over time at room temperature. During fermentation a succession of microbes occurs. By the end of this succession only Lactobacillus species, and sometimes Leuconostoc species, are present in the vegetable mixture. These bacteria produce lactic acid and this lactic acid preserves the vegetables. Fermented vegetables have a smoother, more savory and more earthy flavor than pickled vegetables.
Do the probiotics actually make it to your intestines?
The best part about getting your probiotics through fermented vegetables, is that the probiotic species of bacteria in fermented foods are acid tolerant microbes. They thrive at pH 3 and can survive for up to two hours at a pH as low as one. Since your stomach acid is about pH 2 and food only stays in the stomach for about 30 minutes, they are more than adapt to survive the digestive journey and they will make to your intestines to become part of your microbiome.
What are CFUs?
CFUs stands for Colony Forming Units. Colony forming Units = The number of viable microbial cells able to replicate under ideal conditions that are present in a given sample of product.
How do you determine the probiotic species present in your products?
Kaitlynn (Co-founder and Co-owner) is a microbiologist. Using cell enumeration, bacterial enrichment and isolation and microscopy techniques she is able to identify the microbial species and quantity of microbes present.
Eliminating pathogenic yeasts with fermented vegetables
Properly fermented vegetables can help with combating yeast overgrowth because they are such a rich source of probiotic bacteria. When fermented vegetables are made properly there are no yeasts in present, so they can help recolonize your body with a balanced population of bacteria. Always consult with a doctor if you suspect you have a medical condition such as Candida overgrowth.
Specialty Diets and Food Sensitivity
All of our products are Vegan, Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Sugar Free. If you are on a low sodium diet, consult with your doctor before eating fermented foods.
Our products Vs other fermented food brands
Our products never touch synthetic materials. We ferment our vegetables in American White Oak Barrels. From the barrels, our products are jarred into glass mason jars and labeled. We do not use plastic containers or bags to jar our products due to the ability of acid to degrade plastic over time. Our proprietary fermentation process created by a Microbiologist allows us to maintain a higher bacterial load in each product than most other fermented foods.
Infants, Toddlers, Pregnant and Nursing
Always consult your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing or immunocompromised. Fermented foods can have a profoundly wonderful affect when added to the diets of infants toddlers and mothers. Healthy Gut microbiome development during infancy is a vital part of living a healthy life in later years.
Why Refrigerate if its so well preserved via fermentation?
Our products are to be maintained under refrigeration because refrigeration suspends the fermented vegetables at their peak time. We refrigerate our products after they are jarred, which is when the probiotic count is the highest and the flavor is the best.
What Starter Culture do you use?
We don't use starter cultures. Instead we utilize wild fermentation which selects for the best natural probiotic microbes from nature. All the microbes needed are already on the the surface of the vegetables we ferment, even after the vegetables are washed. The vegetables themselves are the inoculant.
A probiotic is defined as a microbe, usually a species found in a healthy person's microbiome, that is introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities. There are plenty of sources of probiotics, fermented vegetables being one of the absolute best. Playing outside in the garden, eating fermented foods, driving with the windows down, or just visiting the farmers market are great ways to introduce some pretty awesome bacteria to your body.
Fermented Foods vs. Capsules for Probiotics
When looking for a source of probiotics the first thing you should consider is species richness. Species richness refers to how many different microbial species are present in something labeled "probiotic." The more species present the more species rich the product is. Wild fermented vegetables are the most affordable species rich products you can buy. In order to get the amount of species found in fermented vegetables in a month supply of capsules it will cost over $50 a month.
Variations in texture and flavor?
We source the produce we use in our fermented foods as locally as possible, which means the texture and consistency of our products may vary throughout the year. This is just a further indication that our products are hand crafted and natural. Wether or not produce is grown in its optimal growing conditions affects the texture of our fermented vegetables. The flavor, however, should be rather consistent across our batches. Due to the nature of our fermentation process (in large barrels) and our jarring by hand process, no two jars of our kimchi and pickles will have the exact same spice distribution. You may find that some jars have more spices or seasonings in the brine than others, but this doesn't cause a significant difference in flavor between jar since it was all fermented together in one barrel.
How much should you eat in a day?
1/4 of a cup is the suggested serving per day. The serving size suggestion on our nutrition facts is for 1/4 of a cup of the solid vegetable matter (not including the brine).
What is the Sodium content of your products
When fermenting foods safely it is necessary to use at least a 2.25% salt concentration for the best probiotic population to thrive. This is what we use to ferment vegetables in our barrels. With that being said, the serving size suggestion on our nutrition facts is for 2 Tablespoons of the solid vegetable matter (not including the brine). 2 Tablespoons of our fermented vegetables has 275 mg of salt. The brine in the jar that remains can be eaten and added to meals and drinks as well. The brine has about 450 mg of sodium per 2 Tablespoons.
Not all of our produce is organic. We are focused on sourcing local produce, and local organic produce is not always available to us. Local is more important to us. Because of sustainability we do not believe in getting produce shipped from California for the sake of it being organic. Cabbage is a "Clean 15" vegetable, meaning that once the outer leaves are removed it is one of the cleanest, pesticide free vegetables you can eat. For us clean and local is better than far from home and organic. As of June 2017 we are working with local Organic farmers in Louisiana to begin sourcing our produce solely from them. As far as a "Certified Organic" seal goes, it is too expensive for our small business at this time.
How do I ferment at home?
To ferment at home we suggest utilizing our science based blog. When gathering information on safely fermenting vegetables at home it's all about who wrote the information and where they received their education on the topic from. Please use caution when using online fermentation recipes. Most are not based on microbiology, are inaccurate and therefore can be dangerous. We offer many recipes on fermenting veggies at home with many more to come! A line of at home fermentation equipment will be available on our shop page in February of 2018.
Will I get Clostridium botulinum from fermented veggies? (aka Botulism)
No, as long as you get fermented foods from an educated and reliable source, or get your recipe to ferment at home from an educated fact-based source. Always use exact salt concentrations calculated by weight when fermenting at home, and always ferment any vegetable for at least 2 weeks. Remember to keep the focus on the microbes and you will have a healthy microbial food.
How do I eat fermented foods?
You can use our fermented vegetable products with pretty much anything. We have a great blog with lots of recipes utilizing our products. Our blog also covers topics in microbiome health, fermentation science, prebiotic foods, and gut nourishment. Visit our Blog.
Online Orders and Shipping
Shipping cost is calculated at the time of checkout and depends on the weight of the package. If you order over $45 there is a free shipping option if you enter the code FREESHIP. Once you receive a shipping tracking number via email, all discrepancies in delivery time are the responsibility of USPS. If you have a problem upon receipt of your package please email us.
How long are the products good for - What's the expiration date?
Our fermented foods do not expire. It is best to consume the contents of the jar within 6 months of opening to receive the full probiotic benefits. The FDA and Department of Health require us to utilize a crafted on date because fermented vegetables are so well preserved via the fermentation process and maintained under refrigeration. As long as you are using regular sanitary food practices in the kitchen, our products remain safe to eat.
All sales are final. If there is a problem with your order please email us using the form submission on the contact page. There is a three day period upon arrival of your package to bring problems with your package to our attention. If you receive a damaged or broken item, you must contact us with photographic proof of the damage within 3 days of receipt of your package. We are not liable, and do not issue refunds for wrong shipping addresses.
Refrigerate Upon Receipt
Online orders are shipped via USPS. All online orders should be received within 3-5 business days of receiving your tracking number. Our fermented vegetable products are maintained under refrigerated conditions before shipment and during shipment. The recipient is required to refrigerate upon receipt of the package.
Where Can I find your products?
Our products are available in stores across South Louisiana, online and at the Lafayette farmers market. We have a Map link to assist you in finding our products in stores.
How can I contact Cultured Guru?
Currently, as of November 2017 Cultured Guru in its entirety is run by only two people (Scotty and Kaitlynn, the owners). If you have any questions, comments, concerns or just want to chat fermentation, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are usually unavailable via phone. You can also Facebook message us, or Instagram message us. We will get back to you within a day or two!
Is the shipping material sustainable?
Currently the only materials used by our business that are not recyclable or biodegradable are 1. the insulated shipping wrap and 2. the cold packs that our fermented foods are shipped with. There are multiple ways to reuse the cold packs and insulated bubble wrap that our products are shipped with. If you would like to ship packing materials back to us in a large recyclable envelope, we do accept and reuse them.