Salt. One of those very basic ingredients that have been used in cooking… well pretty much forever. Before I read Nourishing Traditions, I never even gave salt a second thought. I just always picked up a container of that famous brand iodized salt in the store.
After reading Sally Fallon’s words about salt (exerpts below) I realized how important this one very basic ingredient actually is. That with the processed salt, we are missing so many vital trace minerals and other nutrients. I also read that the iodine in our salt supply is (surprise!) not a good form of iodine and it’s not easily absorbed by many people.
“Even most so-called sea salt is produced by industrial methods. The best and most health-promoting salt is extracted by the action of the sun on seawater in clay-lined vats. It’s light grey color indicates a high moisture and trace mineral content. This natural salt contains only about 82 percent sodium chloride; it contains about 14 percent macro-minerals, particularly magnesium, and nearly 80 trace minerals. The best and purest commercially available source of unrefined sea salt is the natural salt marshes of Brittany, where it is “farmed” according to ancient methods.” Nourishing Traditions, page 48-49
Lately I’ve had a lot of people contact me that some of their fermented vegetable recipes such as sauerkraut, beet kvass, and ginger carrots are turning out ‘too salty’. Below I will cover tips on using salt in Nourishing Traditions recipes, and also what to do after-the-fact if you find you have a fermented vegetable that is too salty.
After reading Sally Fallon’s words above, I picked up my first bag of Celtic sea salt and started fermenting vegetables with that. Since it’s only 82 percent sodium chloride, it’s not quite as salty as regular industrial sea salt or iodized salt. This could be one reason why some individual’s recipes are coming out too salty.
Salt is a very Individual thing
Another reason that your recipe may taste too salty to you is really based on your individual sensitivity to salt. It depends on your diet, genetics and your health in general in how salty things taste to you:
“The need for salt varies according to the individual. People with weak adrenal glands lose salt in their urine and must have plentiful salt in the diet, but for others excessive salt consumption causes calcium to be excreted in the urine and may contribute to osteoporosis. Excessive salt in the diet also depletes potassium.” Nourishing Traditions, page 48
How to use salt in any Nourishing Traditions recipe:
- I do not recommend using regular store bought iodized salt in Nourishing Traditions recipes, but especially do not use it in the lacto-fermented recipes. It will change the taste and could affect your ferment results (ferment too fast, or even not at all, etc).
- If your sea salt is pure white, it is missing the vital trace minerals that we need to ingest with salt, and it will be saltier tasting. If you use it to ferment vegetables, it’s likely that your final product will be too salty for your taste.
- Instead, in all recipes you should consider using Celtic sea salt in a fine grind. See My Resources for good sources of natural sea salt.
Help! My Ferment is too Salty!
There are some methods you can use to ‘rescue’ a too-salty fermented vegetable – do you have any other methods that you’ve used successfully? Please share with us in the comments!
- Make another batch of the same vegetable ferment, but with 25-40% of the salt that you used the first time. When it’s done fermenting, carefully mix the two batches together. This isn’t always possible but works well if you have another cabbage, etc. This will work the best when the vegetable pieces are small or if it’s a liquid, such as sauerkraut, beet kvass, and ginger carrots. Downside: you have to wait 3 more days (or more) to eat/drink your ferment.
- Eat that particular ferment only with unsalted food, and mix in well. You’ll find that it flavors the whole dish and you won’t need to add any more salt due to the saltiness of your ferment.
- Drain some of the brine off of your ferment (save it for salad dressings, or add water to it to taste and drink it for a healthy beverage) and replace it with a bit of filtered water. Let sit for at least 24 hours in the fridge and then taste again, repeat if necessary. Also add a tablespoon of whey per quart to replace some of the good bacteria in the ferment that you drained off.
How to Store Celtic Sea Salt
Here is the salt box that I have in my own kitchen. I love that it has 3 different compartments (for coarse, fine and one other choice), plus a built in spoon and holder!
What are your experiences with salt in fermenting? Please let us know in the comments!
Photo courtesy of Elana’s Pantry on FlickrPAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.