I'm afraid of bacteria. Why do we need them for fermenting?

Graphic Microbiology Bacteria, part of a microscope group called “microbes”, are primarily our friends, with only 8% causing harm according to a superb article, The Matrix – Life’s Supporting Systems

Fermented foods – yogurt, cheese, miso, soy sauce, bread, wine, beer, and vegetables – all need lactic acid bacteria for flavor, as well as survival! While most people are familiar with Lactobacillus acidophilus – common to yogurt, its name printed on just about every commercial yogurt container – acidophilus is only one of many lactobacillus species.

In 2007, the American Society for Microbiology announced, that in addition to the well-known lactobacillus species populating traditional sauerkraut – Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Lactobacillus brevis – new species have been discovered:

“Leuconostoc citreum, Leuconostoc argentinum, Lactobacillus paraplantarum, Lactobacillus coryniformis, and Weissella sp. The newly identified species Leuconostoc fallax was also found.” DNA Fingerprints of Lactic Acid Bacteria in Sauerkraut

We’re a homeschooling family and have enjoyed studying the science of traditional lacto-fermented foods in our kitchen “lab”!