Lacto-fermented Raw Sweet Potatoes


Many lacto-fermented sweet potato recipes are made with cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. Because they are cooked the beneficial bacteria on the skins are killed through the heating process. Fermenting cooked potatoes then requires the addition of a culture starter: either powder, whey, or the brine from a previous ferment.

This raw recipe, on the other hand, leaves the skin intact and encourages natural fermentation to happen with the addition of only flavorings and salt. The result will be pretty crunchy, like carrots, but quite digestible due to the fermentation.


  • 5 pounds sweet potatoes, with any surface dirt rinsed off, sliced very thinly
  • 1-1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of sea salt


  1. In a large bowl combine sweet potato slices with ginger, onion, and cayenne powder. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of salt. Taste, and if not salty enough add one more tablespoon of salt.
  2. You can pound the sweet potatoes a bit with a potato masher to encourage the release of the juices. This will help your brine to develop faster.
  3. Once the brine begins to form, transfer to a half-gallon jar, or two quart jars, and weigh down with weights. Push down with a clean hand, if necessary, until the brine goes above the vegetables.
  4. Cover and place in a cool place to ferment for 5 to 10 days. It is important to keep this in a cool place (under 65°F) as a quick fermentation could result in a large amount of alcohol being produced.
  5. If you are not using an airlock, be sure to burp your jars regularly to avoid a gas build up.

Once the potatoes are pleasantly fermented you can move them to cold storage. If the fermenting environment has become warmer, you can move the potatoes to cold storage after 2 to 3 days, and leave them to ferment for another week or two.

Makes 1/2 gallon.

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Raw Sweet Potatoes

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