Fermented Vegetable Lingo: A to Whey



Often is put on top of a bottle or jar or crock or bucket. An airlock is designed to allow fermentation gasses to escape while keeping any foreign bacteria or oxygen out of the vessel.



The process of taking old and ready brine from a finished ferment and putting it in a new ferment to help speed up the process of developing lactobacilli bacteria and ensuring a good environment will occur inside the vessel.


Basically just salt and water used to ferment vegetables. Eventually the brine becomes one of the most important parts of the ferment. Drink it. Use it for further ferments (i.e. backslopping). Cook with it!

The average brine is 2.5-4% salt brine.

So for every kilo of veggies, thats 25grams of salt.

Or when making a brine, thats around 30 grams of salt per liter.

Brined Pickles

These are fermented vegetables which are fermented in a brine of salt and water. Different from common vinegar pickles sold in the store. Vinegar pickles unfortunately don't have any probiotic qualities.


Cold Storage

The long-term storage place or time period called for in many lacto-fermented vegetable recipes. The options for cold storage can include refrigeration, storage in a cool root cellar or basement, or storage in an unheated room during cooler weather.


A vessel used in making fermented vegetables. Often our of porcelain or clay.

Culture Starter

An ingredient sometimes used in fermenting vegetables which lends specific bacteria strains to the fermentation process. Starter cultures can help the fermentation process to have more control, however they are not necessary for proper fermentation - we just need the natural bacteria and yeast present on the vegetables themselves, and some salt of course!



Microorganisms found in raw and fermented foods that work alongside other microorganisms to break down starches and proteins. Enzymes are present in the final fermented vegetable and are said to have many health benefits.


Fermentation Time

The time it takes to find your favorite flavors basically ;)! Well actually, I suggest at least 5 days outside of the fridge, and then 2 weeks for the best lactobacilli bacteria to populate. After this, your ferment will continue to rippen and gain flavor!

Fermentation Weight

An object often called for in fermented vegetable recipes for weighing the vegetables down below the level of the brine. These can be made of glass or ceramic or can be part of the vegetables like cabbage leaves or root vegetable slices and cores.

When using a cabbage leaf, i often call it my sacrificial leaf.


Harmful Mold

This is a type of mold to watch out for in fermented vegetables. Harmful molds are often colorful (black, blue, green, or red). They also often produce unpleasant odors and flavors. As such, any fermented vegetable with harmful molds should be discarded. Your eye and nose will definitely be the first indicator telling you that it is not suitable to eat.


Kahm Yeast

A common white yeast that forms on the surface of fermented foods. This is described as a non-harmful yeast and can be removed from the surface of the brine so long as it has not rooted deeply into the brine.

Some cultures use this yeast as a natural lid on top of the vegetables protecting everything underneath.

Once I grew a kahm yeast so thick, on purpose, that it DID become a sealing lid!

Classic_Sauerkraut_Kit_Process_taste and smell it


Lactic Acid

The organic acid produced by the lactobacilli or lactic acid bacteria. This is the primary acid produced in the process of fermenting vegetables and works to substantially lower the pH of the brine.


These are our friends and do not contain lactose as one might think from the name.

Lactobacilli are primary fermentative bacteria present during lactic acid fermentation. This is the bacteria responsible for the proliferation of lactic acid which is one of the primary organic acids that work to acidify, and therefore preserve, the vegetables as well as give us that amazing taste!


Also known as lactic acid fermentation, this is the process by which vegetables are pickled through the proliferation of lactic acid bacteria and the production of lactic acid. During the process the bacteria are multiplied as well as the acids, lowering the pH thereby preserving the vegetables.



An organism so small it can only be seen using a special device such as a microscope. In fermentation, several microorganisms are present such as bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes.



Some kind of tool to help you pound down the kraut in a vessel. A stick, a mortar.... get creative!



The most important ingredient in lacto-fermented vegetables. Works to preserve the texture of vegetables, pull out the sugars and juices from vegetables to combine with the yeasts, hinder vegetables going bad as salt is too a preservation material, and create a better ferment with a longer shelf life and bring flavor!.



The byproduct of straining cultured dairy products such as yogurt or kefir. This transparent liquid contains lactobacilli and other bacteria and yeast strains specific to the cultured dairy product. It is often used as a culture starter in vegetable fermentation, though it is not necessary for successful fermentation.
















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