Note from Shannon: Please welcome Janet Creasy, Cultures for Health Content Writer and Cultured-Kitchen Keeper.
Each day I delve deeper into my fermentation journey, I find something new. My family has been tearing through maple syrup these days, filling their bellies with warm oatmeal topped with maple syrup and berries. I got to thinking about the fermentation of syrup.
Most people might fret if their syrup fermented but what is mead but fermented honey? Or wine but fermented grapes? Hard Cider but fermented apples? I went to grab my well-worn and loved edition of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. So firstly, what is the act of fermentation?
According to Sally Fallon:
“Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid producing bacteria. These lactobacilli are ubiquitous, present on the surface of all living things…preservation of vegetables and fruits by the process of lacto-fermentation have numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
Fermenting is a fairly simple process and similar for all types of fruits and vegetables. You will need your vegetables or fruits that you are fermenting, wide mouth mason jars and lids, liquid whey, filtered water, salt and spices of choice and time at room temperature.
When fermenting, it is very important to use the freshest organic or non-pesticide fruits and vegetables that you can find and fresh non-chlorinated water. Heat promotes fermentation and my house stays at relatively the same temperature between 70-80° F. There are several ideas to keep your cultures warm in your house here. After fermentation has occurred, you need to store your treasures in a cool dry place, preferably a refrigerator or cellar if you have one.
Below is an adapted recipe from Fallon’s book using fermented berries.
Fermented Berry Syrup
- 4 cups mixed berries that might include blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or boysenberries
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup whey
- 1/4 cup rapadura or organic sugar
- 1 cup organic grade b maple syrup
- In a bowl mix together washed berries, kosher salt, whey and rapadura or sugar. Mash berries into a liquid sauce.
- Place into a clean, quart size jar and tightly securely fasten with a top.
- Leave on the counter, at room temperature to ferment for 48 hours or 2 days.
- Following the allotted time, stir in the maple syrup.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Note: You can ferment the syrup with the berries, depending on the fermentation level you like. It will be more “fizzy” if you incorporate it beforehand.
Yields about 1 quart