Fermentation… on Acid!

lactic acid

Acid, of the lactic variety.

Here’s the deal, I bought a food processor a few months ago and the joys of shredding still seem fresh and new.  This novel invention combined with easy access to the bountiful harvests of my local and beloved CostCo results in some wild and crazy weekend antics.   The only tarnish comes when a giant batch of finely cut vegetables founders in my crisper drawer, leaving an indelicately reduced liquid to sop up rejectedly.  Even if the chopped vittles don’t turn obviously against me, I have suffered at the hands of food-borne illness often enough to throw things away before they become truly dangerous.  It would seem that my only remaining options are to give up my grating addiction or get my act together and attempt some “new” method of food preservation.  I will choose the latter.

Lacto fermentation as a method of food preservation of course isn’t new at all.  Cabbage has fallen prey to the ravages of lactic acid for at least 3000 years in Korea and sometime after that in Germany, gifting humanity with kimchi and sauerkraut respectively.   In fact, lactic acid fermentation was developed even before H. sapiens arrived on the scene.  (It’s so easy, even a caveman can do it.)

lactic acid timeline

Of human evolution and sauerkraut.

Lactobacillis is one of the most common genera of lactic acid fermenting bacteria.  The idea is that the bacteria produces copious amounts of acid during respiration, rendering the chosen foodstuffs inhospitable for pathogenic microbes.  All I have to do is provide my pet Lactobacilli with some trusty old glucose, C6H12O6.  During glycolosis, they break this down into two molecules of pyruvate, add some ATP and NADH and bingo bango we have lactic acid!

C6H12O6 → 2 CH3CHOHCOOH

Be sure to tune in next week to see what I have decided to set a bubbling…

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2 Responses to Fermentation… on Acid!

  1. DustinNo Gravatar 5 October, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Lactobacillus is also used in the making of sour beers…more good fermentation! Great when they want it, and a horrid invader when they don’t (ie, for the other 99.9% of beers out there!)

  2. Acid QueenNo Gravatar 5 October, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Sour beer? That sounds good.

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