Learn how to preserve fruit through lacto-fermentation!
Lacto-fermentation is a preservation technique based on salt and lactic acid bacteria. In this process, bacteria eat the sugar contained in food and produce lactic acid.
The most common lacto-fermentations are those made from vegetables, such as sauerkraut, pickles, or kimchi. However, any fruit and vegetable can also be processed.
This article will explain the fundamentals of fermenting any fruit.
Please note there are several types of fermentation for processing fruit. This article will NOT cover alcoholic fermentation (cider, mead, wine), acetic fermentation (vinegar), or mixed fermentation (kefir, kombucha, etc.)
However, a particular advantage of lacto-fermented fruit is the new sour, salty, and umami flavour they develop during fermentation.
In addition, the aromas and flavours of lacto-fermented fruit are still present, allowing you to rediscover a common fruit in an entirely new way. Sweet and savoury lovers, you are in for a treat!
Fermented Fruit Examples
Any fruit can be lacto-fermented, but some produce better results than others.
Lacto-fermented plums are typical of Asian cultures. Also known as umeboshi plums, they are used to season rice and various dishes. Most stone fruit (peaches, cherries, apricots, etc.) are very suitable for fermentation.
Citrus fruit also work well: lemons, limes, and oranges are among our favourites. After fermentation, you can even eat the peel and use it in recipes! Lacto-fermented lemons, also known as salt-preserved lemons, are a must in North African cuisine.
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, etc.) are also excellent choices. They can be used as a sweet and sour condiment and are absolutely delicious on ice cream or fresh cheese.
Mixing Fermented Fruit and Vegetables
To tame the taste of lacto-fermented fruit, add it to a vegetable fermentation! Fruit give the mixture a sweet and aromatic touch.
For example, our (absolutely delicious) recipe for orange lacto-fermented carrots uses a slice of orange to add flavour to the carrots.
Apples and pears are often used to counterbalance the spiciness and saltiness of kimchi or sauerkraut recipes. Adding fruit to vegetable fermentations is a great way to tame the taste.
Mango and pineapple create magic when added to chilies and other herbs in the preparation of hot sauces.
In addition, fermented fruit make excellent condiments! Try a mango chutney, fruit ketchup, or fermented cranberry chutney!
To discover all that lacto-fermented fruit have to offer, experiment with different fermentation times. For sweet and savoury results, stop the fermentation at one week (or less!)
On the contrary, if you are looking for more umami and tangy flavours, let it ferment for several weeks to give the bacteria a chance to consume all the sugar in the fruit. All that will be left is their aroma!
How to Eat Lacto-Fermented Fruit
Although we’re not really used to eating lacto-fermented fruit, they fit absolutely everywhere! Try them as condiments, or to add unusual flavours to a marinade or dressing.
Here are some suggestions:
Fermented lemons in chicken dishes
Fermented peaches and nuts on pizza
Fermented sour cherries as an aperitif (like olives!)
Blueberries (and their brine!) on vanilla ice cream