Using Salt in Fermentation

When you start fermenting your own foods, you may come face to face with a ton of options for fermenting. One of those options is to use salt. You may be curious about what kind of salt to use, how to use it, and why you should be using salt in some fermentation processes. This information can be difficult to narrow down in a way that answers all your questions. With that in mind, here are some reasons as well as methods and benefits of using salt in home based food fermentation.

Use the Right Kind

You can’t just grab ordinary table salt and use it in food fermentation. The main reason you want to avoid table salt is due to the iodine and chemicals found in the substance. This combination can actually keep the foods from fermenting properly and can hinder the way the food develops. Instead you need to use either Kosher salt or pickling salt. Kosher salt is a purer salt and can be purchased at most grocery stores in the salt isle. Sea salt is an ideal option due to the natural base of the salt itself. Pickling salt is refined and has no additives. Some people do tend to stay away from pickling though because the refining process is thought to be damaging to fermentation.

Choose the Type of Salt

Though there is some thought that the type of salt doesn’t matter, others believe it does. For example, some will use a coarse or kosher like salt for fermentation that has a longer time on the shelf. This means if you are fermenting cucumbers to create pickles then you may want to use a coarse salt, whereas something like a fruit that is turning into a fermented sauce or drink may use a fine grain of salt.

Add Minerals

Use the salt to add minerals. That is the first and foremost thing you need to keep in mind when using salt, after choosing the type for your project. Though salt is used in many food fermentation processes, it is also used to add extra minerals to give the fermented food more of a boost. Look for salts that fit your needs and say fortified or mineral based. Look for salts that say what additional minerals they contain. This will help you add what you need without adding too many extras to the fermentation.

These are just some quick tips and information on what you need to know about using salt in food fermentation. It is by far not the only method you can use, and is limited to certain types of food fermentation. However, knowing this information will help you make a more informed choice as to whether or not you want to use this method in your own fermentation processes.