Frequently Asked Questions

What is lactic acid -fermentation?

People have utilized lactic acid fermentation for thousands of years.  Fermented foods and vegetables represent a significant component of many diets in cultures across the world, think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, sake, tempeh, yoghurt, cheese, sourdough, and even chocolate and coffee.  Fermentation is a natural microbial process that relies on beneficial cultures, like lactic acid bacteria, already thriving on the surface of raw vegetables. Cultures transform the fresh vegetables into “pickled” foods by converting sugars to lactic acid, acetic acid, carbon dioxide, and other beneficial substances. It is the lactic acid that is primarily responsible for preserving the vegetables, as well as creating the wonderful flavor and aroma of fermented foods.

 How are fermented foods different from classic vinegar pickles?

Foods that are pickled are those that have been preserved in an acidic medium.  Our handcrafted vegetable ferments are “pickled” with lactic acid.  Our products are completely raw, living foods, full of rich enzymatic activity and probiotics and will remain preserved for years under refrigeration.

In the case of various types of supermarket pickles on the shelf, the pickling comes from vinegar.  These vegetables, however, are not naturally fermented. Vinegar pickling and the subsequent high heat pressure canning, kills all the negative bacteria as well as the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and nutrients.  Our industrialized food system favors vinegar pickles because the resulting product is stable at room temperature and can last for years on the shelf.

Why should I eat lacto-fermented foods?

Raw, naturally fermented foods provide a healthy and nutrient dense snack or side dish.  They are full of probiotic bacteria that contribute to digestive health, boost immune function and aide in detoxification.

Visit our health benefits page to view a detailed overview of all the health benefits available in our fermented vegetables.

Can I eat lacto-fermented foods if I am dairy intolerant?

Yes, you can!  Contrary to the sound of the name, lacto-fermentation refers to lactic acid and has no relationship to the lactose found in dairy products.  Our products are lactose free.

Are your products raw, vegan, gluten-free and GMO free?

All of Oregon Brineworks products are raw and vegan.  Our products are not certified as gluten free; however we do not use any ingredients that contain gluten. We only ferment certified organic produce so we know it is GMO free!

How long does a Oregon Brineworks jar last if left unoponed? How long will the jar last after I open it?

A jar of our fermented vegetables will last approximately two years or longer if left unopened and refrigerated.  Once you open the jar, we recommend consuming the product within 3 months time.

What happens if I leave a jar out of refrigeration for a few days? 

At room temperature fermentation will resume. The products flavor may become more sour and the vegetables may soften, but the product will not spoil. If any white film grows on the surface of the product, simply scrape off with a spoon, it’s simply a by product of fermentation.  Place product back into the refrigerator and enjoy.  As with any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

I bought a jar and when I opened the lid it was bubbling, is this bad?

No, this is fermentation. When we close the lids on to the jars the fermentation process is in drive so to speak and when we close that lid it takes a little while for the fermentation process to slow to neutral.  In that time the fermentation process wants to release CO2 as a byproduct of metabolizing carbohydrates from the vegetables. As well, the living bacteria will need to metabolize enzymes, acids and nutrients from the ferments over time. This metabolization process also leads to the bubbling that you can see when opening a jar.  Beets in particular are higher in sugars and it can take a while for that beet sugar to be metabolized in the fermentation process.

Can I get food poisoning from eating fermented foods?

Lacto-fermentation represents one of the safest methods for preserving raw vegetables.  There is little to no safety concerns with the fermentation process.  The reason for this is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are one of the world’s best killer of other bacteria, including the super bad guys like E.coli.

Believe it or not, our fermented veggies are actually easier to digest and provide greater health benefits from their raw counterparts, as fermentation allows our bodies to access and digest a greater percentage of the available nutrients.

Why do fermented foods sometimes taste different from one jar to the next?

Climate, soil, terrain, tradition.  At Oregon Brineworks, we use only the most fresh and local produce available.  This means that each jar contains vegetables fermented at the peak of their flavor and nutrient value.  We gather our vegetables from a collection of farms across Oregon and Washington.  This means each week (twice a week) we receive vegetables affected by different climates, soil types, land geography and farmer practices.  All of this will subtly affect the flavor of each batch we produce.  This is the beauty and enjoyment behind artesian, small batch, handcrafted foods.

There is sediment on the bottom of my jar, is this normal?  The brine in my pickle jar is cloudy, is this normal?

The sediment at the bottom of an Oregon Brineworks jar is a natural and healthy bi-product of fermentation.  The same goes for the cloudiness in a pickle jar.  As the jar sits stable the brine will become clear and the sediment will fall to the bottom of the jar.  The cloudiness and sediment are safe and healthy, so go ahead and drink the brine!

Are fermented foods good for babies, children, and lactating or pregnant women?

Oregon Brineworks creates products that are beneficial for everyone’s health.  Consuming the probiotics contained within our fermented foods will help babies and children build a healthy gut micro biome, and provide nursing and lactating mothers a way to improve and ease their own digestion while passing on healthy micro flora to their offspring.