Sometimes, when reading on the internets, I’ll see some stuff about how kombucha is such a delicious lactofermented beverage, or how it was amazing to find out the even chocolate and vinegar are lactofermented (or worse “probiotic.” They’re not.)! Those things are all fermented, of course, but they are not lactofermented. I totally understand the confusion, so I thought I would offer a little cheat sheet on which common fermented food goes with which type of fermentation.
Lactic Acid Fermentation
Lactic acid fermentation is so called because of its lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria are call lactic acid bacteria (LAB) because they produce lactic acid (shocker) and not because they have any milk or dairy products in them. Lactic acid bacteria are present in the soil, and therefore on the things that grow in the earth. There are also strains of lactic acid bacteria naturally present in dairy milk. Lactofermented foods are the foods that can be called “probiotic” based on their production of health-enhancing bacteria.
Some Favorite Foods Made Through Lactic Acid Fermentation (lactofermentation):
- Pickles, including cucumber pickles and all pickled vegetables (these can also be canned, not a fermentation process)
- Cheese (some cheeses are further fermented with molds, see below)