Frequently Asked Questions
Excerpt from a San Francisco Gate article, June, 2009
U.S. Department of Agriculture research service microbiologist Fred Breidt says properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E. coli on the farm.
“With fermented products there is no safety concern. I can flat-out say that. The reason is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world’s best killers of other bacteria,” says Breidt, who works at a lab at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where scientists have been studying fermented and other pickled foods since the 1930s.
Breidt adds that fermented vegetables, for which there are no documented cases of food-borne illness, are safer for novices to make than canned vegetables. Pressurized canning creates an anaerobic environment that increases the risk of deadly botulism, particularly with low-acid foods.
|Cultivating their Fascination with Fermentation|
Did you know...
Sauerkraut-making requires the bacteria Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus brevis to ferment sugars that provide a variety of such organic products as lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol, and mannitol. These bacteria are known as ‘heterofermentative’ bacteria. Later a ‘homofermentative’ bacteria, Lactobacillus plantarum takes over, producing only lactic acid.
—Cabbage + Microbes = Sauerkraut
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