Lacto Fermented Wild Garlic
Wild garlic is a big player in our kitchen, it’s a wonderfully versatile plant with a nice gentle garlicky hum. It’s super easy to substitute into most recipes and it’s just bloody delicious too!
The brilliance of lacto fermentation is that all you need is two ingredients, the star of the show in this case wild garlic and then some salt… see easy. You can absolutely add in extra flavours and seasonal twists, fish sauce for depth, gochujang for a kimchi vibe, other wild herbs and spices. The fermentarium world really is your lobster!
The simplest form of lacto fermentation is to create a salt water brine and submerge your chosen food into it. For our ferment we are going to create a brine by drawing out the moisture held within the wild garlic using salt.
Adding salt to our plant matter and giving it a good old massage will hopefully draw out enough salty garlicky brine that it will submerge the garlic once weighed down. We can if we need to top up the brine with a little filtered water.
The critical part of the recipe is the quantity of salt. A 2% brine is the perfect environment for most firm vegetables and plant matter to ferment without them becoming overly salty. However cucumbers and peppers which are more prone to moulding will need a higher percentage of salt between 3% and 5%.
The term lacto comes from lactic acid which is produced when the bacteria starts to break down the sugar held within the vegetable. The specific bacteria we wish to thrive is lactobacillus. This is found on the surface of leaves, vegetables and fruits and occurs naturally around us but also within us too!
The lactobacillus feeds on the sugar in the fermenting food to turn these sugars into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This forms an acidic environment for the fermentation to take place whilst removing the oxygen held within the jar. The lactic acid produced is a natural preservative and will inhibit the growth of any harmful bacteria.