Introduction to Culturing Fruit
Most people who have dabbled in fermentation have at least practiced culturing vegetables and probably dairy as well. But when it comes to culturing fruit things start to get a little more complicated.
Fruit contains a lot more sugar than vegetables. These sugars are exactly what the microorganisms feast on to produce bacteria, acids, and yeasts in a cultured food product.
But, because the sugars are so prevalent in fruit you have to closely monitor and control the fermentation process. Instead of simply salting some cabbage and allowing it to do its thing, you have to be more involved in order to produce a lacto-fermented fruit culture.
Types of Fruit Ferments
When we speak of fruit ferments there are generally three kinds:
Lactic Acid Ferment. This is the type of ferment I am referring to when we talk about the ferment we are gunning for. It is the first stage of the fruit fermentation process.
Alcohol Ferment. We are all familiar with the many fruit alcohol ferments. Wine is the most obvious of these ferments. This stage of fermentation is fairly easy to achieve due to all of the sugars in the fruit.
Vinegar Ferment. This is the final stage of fermentation after alcohol. At this stage acetic acid is formed and we get things like apple cider vinegar.
Achieving Lactic Acid Fermentation
For the purpose of this article we are looking most closely at lactic acid fermentation. This form of fruit fermentation is of interest to many who are familiar with lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and all of their health benefits.
Lacto-fermented fruit jams and chutneys can be achieved in much the same way as the lacto-fermented vegetables we are used to dealing with, you simply need to keep a few things in mind...
So, don’t be too intimidated by the challenge of fermenting fruit. Give it a shot, have fun with it, and keep in mind a few of the considerations above when delving into fruit fermentation.