Lacto-Fermentation: A Healthy Way to Preserve Your Harvest

Editor’s Note: If you’re gardening, you’re no doubt setting food by with survival in mind. The following article by Ellis Hein describes a simple method for doing just that. Be sure to click on highlighted phrases for further related information. – John


History is not so much the story of great men as it is the story of outstanding foods and diseases. We know about Captain Cook because he took sauerkraut on his second round the-world trip. As a result, he and his crew did not suffer from scurvy, that devastating disease of sea voyages. The cabbage of his kraut was preserved by lacto-fermentation, a process of natural preservation revered for centuries before modern methods of pickling in vinegar or canning. This kraut was not only effective against scurvy; it kept through the whole voyage.

The advantage of modern food preservation lies in convenience plus a reliable flavor and consistency. Lacto-fermentation, however, is valuable for its enhanced health benefits. Modern techniques are based on sterilization. Lacto-fermentation is driven by beneficial, soil borne bacteria (lacto-bacilli) which:

A. break down the food, thus making it more digestible.

B. manufacture vitamins, increasing the nutritive value of the preserved food.

C. produce enzymes (specially energized molecules used for digestion and other metabolic processes).

D. produce natural antibiotics that protect the food from putrefying bacteria.

E. produce anti-carcinogenic compounds.

F. produce lactic acid.

Both lactic acid and vinegar preserve food by making it more acidic. Unlike vinegar, lactic acid regulates the pH of stomach acids, which tear down our food. Lactic acid then activates the metabolic processes that re-synthesize those nutrients into new, living substances the body can use.

Lacto-fermented foods are not only a good source of beneficial bacteria for our intestinal tract, they also taste good.

Making lacto-fermented vegetables is quite straightforward. One of my favorite recipes is fermented carrots:


  • Grate enough organically grown carrot to fill a quart jar when packed, leaving about one inch head space.
  • Add 1 Tbs. Celtic Sea Salt and one capsule Simplexity Health’s Spectrabiotic. Mix thoroughly and let stand for about one hour or until the salt and Spectrabiotic begin to draw the juice from the carrot.
  • Pack the carrot into a quart jar. The juice should cover the carrot by the time the jar is packed to within 1 inch from the top. If necessary, add some non-chlorinated water to cover the carrot.
  • Tightly cap the jar and let it sit at room temperature for three days. This can be varied with the temperature; longer for cold rooms or shorter for hot. Ideal temperature is about 70 degrees F.


At the end of the fermentation period, store your carrots in a cold room (~40 degrees F) or on the top shelf of a refrigerator.

You can eat your carrots right away or let them sit in storage for a few weeks, during which time they will develop a more subtle flavor.

– by Ellis Hein


About the Author

Ellis Hein grew up on a family farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle, where he and his family raised dry land wheat and cattle. Food was never far from his mind, whether he was wondering if he could last till the next meal, remembering last Sunday’s feast at Grandmother Dunn’s, or puzzling why some particular food made him feel rotten.

Hein’s interest in gardening and food preservation is rooted in his family’s dependence upon growing their own vegetables. Without those gardens, Hein’s family could not have overcome the economic hardships.

Hein is the author of The Woodturner’s Project Book, released by Linden Publishing. He has also authored numerous articles on the faith of the early Quakers and its relevance for today. Hein has also published articles on the value of real food. (See his Natural Health—The First Law posted on many e-zines.

For information about the Simplexity Health probiotic product mentioned above, or to find out more about what you’ve just read, contact Ellis Hein by sending an email to woodturnedart(at) Replace (at) with @ in the e-mail address.


Author: DestinySurvival Contributor

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6 thoughts on “Lacto-Fermentation: A Healthy Way to Preserve Your Harvest”

  1. Hurray for lacto-fermented veggies! I’m about to ferment some green beans (using pretty much the same method as for the carrots above–except using whey instead of the other stuff). Veggies that are fermented in this manner are delicious and extra healthy. Great post!

  2. Patricia,

    Yes you can use whey to make lacto fermented vegetables. You can also add extra salt and no innoculant as most vegetables that ferment should have beneficial bacteria already on them. I use an innoculant because that insures a quick start to the fermentation. The innoculant does not replace the wild bacteria, but it can prevent yeasts and molds from getting a start before the wild bacteria multiply enough to hold their own. I use the Spectrabiotic because I like the taste and consistency I get better than whey innoculated vegetables.

    Thank you for your comment and enjoy your lacto-fermented green beans!

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