Every year around this time (December/January) I look forward to one thing — and while I’d love to say that’s a beautiful white layer of fluffy snow, it’s actually something that’s round and yellow.
Here in Phoenix, we’d be hard-pressed to see snow (although we have had it in past years, it hasn’t stuck around too long!) – but we do get to enjoy the lemon season and right now I’m drowning in lots and lots of lemons. I love this round, yellow citrus fruit – not only do I love to throw the peels in my garbage disposal to freshen it up, I also enjoy being able to make lots of lemonade, lemon bars, and lacto-fermented lemons.
When most people think of fermentation, the first thing that comes to mind is wine or beer…
With wine or beer, certain yeasts are used to convert the sugars in grape juice to wine, or grains into alcohol, but it’s actually the bacteria that are responsible for lacto-fermentation.
Lacto refers to the Lactobacillus bacteria — and you can find this bacteria on the surface of plants (especially those that grow close to the ground), in our GI tract, in our mouth and ladies… even in our vaginal tract.
Appealing, right? (I know, you are probably thinking – eww!)
These Lactobacillus bacteria have the ability to convert the sugars to lactic acid… and not necessarily involving dairy products (as many may assume!)
Lactic acid is a sort of natural preservative; as a preservative, it takes on the duty of inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in foods that are lacto-fermented. As a bonus… it also does several other amazing things:
- It preserves and in some cases increases vitamin levels, as well as enzyme levels.
- It enhances the digestibility of the fermented food.
Their ability to increase enzyme levels make lacto-fermented foods wonderful for good gut health. Fermented foods are (in most cases) very safe to eat and incredibly easy to prepare.
So as the case with these Lacto-Fermented Lemons. They are delicious!
recipe adapted from Cultures for Health