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"Worked great!"

I used my juicer to make cabbage juice for GAPS Intro diet. I then used this to ferment it. The juice turned out perfect! I will be using this again soon to make actual Sauerkraut.

- gogirlusa

Body Ecology Starter Culture

SKU: 2556
Body Ecology Vegetable Starter Culture

Availability: In stock

You Can Do This
When you buy this product you get FREE ACCESS to: 200-page Lacto-Fermentation eBook including 64 recipes plus hundreds more articles, recipes, and how-to videos



While you can ferment vegetables at home using salt or whey, using a starter culture like this one can add bacteria to the process and can get things going more quickly. It's also a good option if you are looking for a salt-free ferment. Check out our collection of Cultured Vegetable Expert Advice Articles for more information on fermenting vegetables at home!

  • Each box contains 6 packets of starter culture.
  • Usage: Direct-set (single-use culture). Use 1 packet per batch to culture vegetables or to culture cream for making cultured butter or crème fraîche (see instructions below).
  • Storage: Store extra packets in freezer until ready to use.
  • Safety Notes: Not appropriate for culturing fruit, according to the manufacturer.
  • Additional instructions and recipes are included in box.


How to Ferment Vegetables with the Body Ecology Starter Culture

  • Add 1 packet culture to any vegetable ferment - 1 packet will culture up to 6 quarts (1.5 gallons) of vegetables.
  • Follow recipe instructions or ferment each batch at 70°F. 
  • Taste test your fermenting vegetables after 3 days. Ferment for up to 1 week or until they taste good to you.
  • Note: The instructions booklet will specify to use EcoBloom™ with this culture, but is not necessary for a successful vegetable ferment. [EcoBloom™ is a prebiotic from (and suggested by) Body Ecology made from 100% natural powder chicory extract.] You can use an alternate form of sugar like rapadura, Sucanat, honey or agave instead if you wish to supplement the starter culture though supplementation is not required.


How to Make Crème Fraîche & Cultured Butter with the Body Ecology Starter Culture

  • To make crème fraîche, add 1 packet starter culture to 1 pint heavy whipping cream.
  • Culture at 72-75°F for 24 hours.
  • To make cultured butter, make crème fraîche and follow the instructions in our article How to Make Cultured Butter.


Body Ecology Starter Storage and Shipping Information

Store in refrigerator or freezer. This product is shipped in a dehydrated state and keeps:

  • In the refrigerator (40° to 45°F): 12 months
  • In the freezer (0° to 25°F): 12 months or more


Actual product may differ from image shown above.



Additional Information

UPC 00758000100229


3 Reviews For "Body Ecology Starter Culture"

Items 11 to 13 of 13 total
  1. Love this starter.

    by Sarah on 04/06/2014


    I love this starter and always like to have some on hand if I can. I too like the taste of cultured vegetables that aren't too salty. Even though the price is somewhat high,I think it is well worth it.

  2. Interesting stuff

    by Eh? on 03/24/2014


    Made a batch of cabbage using a packet of this culture and no salt whatsoever. It's good! We just each sprinkle salt to taste on our own serving. Nice to have home-fermented kraut that's not so salty. Works great in my fermenting crock.

  3. great for cultured vegetables

    by Mary on 12/23/2013


    Works well for cultured vegetables, good instructions but i modified slightly (didn't make the brine - used water just to cover) and cultured quickly.

Items 11 to 13 of 13 total

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Body Ecology Starter Culture Ingredients and Allergen Information

  • Lactobacillus plantarum, pediococcus acidolactici, leuconostoc cremoris, and inulin.
  • This product contains no GMO ingredients.
  • According to the manufacturer, this product is dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. 
  • May contain trace amounts of dairy.
  • Inulin is derived from chicory root.


Questions on Body Ecology Starter Culture

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Items 11 to 20 of 25 total
  • From Jack at 9/5/2012 12:29 PM
    • I would like to pickle some whole dill cucumbers. The directions for the culture starter do not address this usage, only for shredded vegetables. Can the culture starter be used to make whole dill pickles?
    • Yes. You should be able to use the same ratios to make whole dill pickles.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Richard at 7/11/2012 1:17 PM
    • How do you ship this product? I know it's temperature sensitive, so I was wondering if there's anything done to protect it during shipping.
    • Because it is freeze dried it will usually be just fine in the mail. We suggest that you watch the tracking and don't let it sit out in an overly hot mailbox or on the porch for too long though.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Amy at 5/2/2012 12:24 PM
    • Can I add some of this BE culture starter to my veggie fermenting using whey and salt, just to beef up the variety of bacterial strains? Or is it best to use this starter without whey? Thanks!
    • It is best to follow the instructions included with the culture. This is meant to be used in place of whey. Freeze-dried cultures are also compatible with salt for taste, crunch, and some mold protection.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Grace Kellermann-McLean at 4/2/2012 3:10 PM
    • Is this starter vegan?
    • The Body Ecology Starter Culture contains trace amounts of dairy.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Herby Irvine at 2/26/2012 11:10 AM
    • Hi, Can BE starter culture be used in making Kvass.
    • Yes, you may use the BE starter culture when making kvass.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Lynn at 2/14/2012 12:26 AM
    • Before these scientifically formulated fermentation products were developed, what was used to ferment veggies?
    • Natural fermentation methods include brine (salt + water) and/or whey. The starter cultures are useful because they contain more bacteria than are commonly found on the plant surfaces, so they get the fermentation going faster.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From alison at 1/21/2012 4:19 PM
    • Thank you for your prompt response. Are you able to answer the second part of my original question?

      Also the two recipes supplied on directions don't specify end quantities of vegetables? Can you shed light?

      And based on your comment above 'one packet to about 4.5 pounds of vegetable' how accurate do i need to be? My jars fit quantities of 1.5, 2.5 and 3lbs.

      Much appreciated
    • It is not important to be especially accurate on measuring the starter and the vegetables. The purpose of the starter is to provide additional bacteria to get the vegetables fermenting, beyond what is naturally resident on the surface of the vegetables. Using the recommended proportions, i.e., one packet to 4.5 lbs of vegetables, will produce a reliable result. More or less might result in a faster or slower fermentation.

      Regarding final quantities: most vegetables don't change much in volume during fermentation, so what you put in the crock is about what you will take out.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From alison at 1/21/2012 4:00 PM
    • hello there,

      The instructions that came with the BE packaging don't obviously mention salt, but i would like to use salt for a crunchier vegetable. Can i also use salt with the BE culture starter? I was planning to use 2 tablespoons of salt for 3 pounds of sauerkraut. If this is not correct, could you please recommend quantities.

      Also the two recipes supplied on directions don't specify end quantities of vegetables? Can you shed light?

      And based on your comment above 'one packet to about 4.5 pounds of vegetable' how accurate do i need to be? My jars fit quantities of 1.5, 2.5 and 3lbs.

      I am storing in the refrigerator, should i store in the freezer?

      Thank you
    • You can use salt with the BE starter culture. The amount used depends on personal preference. There is no exact amount recommended.

      The unused portion of starter culture can be stored in the refrigerator for 8 months, or longer in the freezer.

      Please refer to the Body Ecology website for more information.

    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Joelle at 12/23/2011 5:54 AM
    • I cannot eat sugar. I have an inflammatory response; therefore I could not buy Caldwell's, but can I use another form of sugar with similar results with BE; like agave, honey, coconut sugar or sucanat?
    • The role of the added sugar is to provide energy for the bacteria to proliferate. It's all metabolized during the fermentation process. Even before it's used up during the fermentation, the amount of sucrose in the final product (fermented vegetables) is tiny. If you were to add one teaspoon of sugar to 4.5 lbs of vegetables, and water to cover them, you would have somewhere on the order of 2% sugar (or less) in the mixture at the beginning of fermentation. By comparison, fresh cabbage itself contains about 3% sugars.

      Additional sugar in fermentation is not required. It does provide a boost of energy for the bacteria, which speeds up the fermentation a little. If you want to eliminate any trace of sugar whatsoever in the fermenting process, you can use whey or salt brine alone. Honey should not be used in any case, as it has antibacterial properties and may weaken or damage the bacteria in the fermentation.

      Here is an article on the use of different ways to use starters in fermenting: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/compare-salt-whey-starter-culture-ferment-vegetables-fruits-condiments
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Sirarpi at 12/21/2011 8:53 AM
    • How can I prolong the culturing life of a packet of vegetable culture so that I can culture subsequent batches of vegetables. Would adding sugar to the fermented juice encourage the multiplication of the bacteria?
    • Added sugar just provides more food for the bacteria, causing additional fermentation. It will not necessarily prolong the life of the bacteria. While you can sometimes use juice from one batch of cultured vegetables to start a new batch, these bacteria don't perpetuate the same way yogurt bacteria do, and ultimately you may need a new set of cultures. The purpose of the culture is to increase the available bacteria in the fermenting pot so the vegetables will ferment more quickly, activating the enzymes on the surface of the vegetables and breaking down the vegetable fibers. You can achieve a similar result using whey, or even just brine, but the starter culture is especially reliable and active.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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