There's a difference. These are lacto-fermented, they're FULL of nutrients & pro-biotics,& there was ZERO 'canning' needed. No standing over a stove to wait for them to process, no sweating from the heat, & no having to worry about whether you followed the "FDA approved" directions correctly. (I've said before, I trust God & history more than modern industrialization when it comes to food.)
Traditionally preserved & prepared foods ROCK, can I just tell you! This took me about 10 minutes to prepare. Mix it up, screw on the lid, & you're done. Have you ever tried your own lacto-fermenting? You should!
I've been purchasing "Bubbies" brand of pickles, relish, & sauerkraut for a long while now (a good commercial brand of lacto-fermented foods). Another brand that is ready made is "Farmhouse Culture". But they're both expensive. I'm going to be switching over to yet another homemade food, which will save me a whole lot of money & be even healthier. And this isn't the kind of 'get drunk' fermenting you might be thinking of... (Sorry - I don't do alcohol.)
Lactobacilli bacteria convert the sugars and starches into lactic acid, & there are millions/billions of good-for-your-gut pro-biotics produced with this type of fermenting. Foods that are fermented in factories have cheap processed vinegar, refined sugar, refined salt, artificial ingredients, & they're pasteurized which kills off any "healthiness" that was present.
75% of your immune system’s cells are found in your digestive tract. Your digestive tract is so closely connected to your immune system, it's not even funny. Most illness/disease physically begins in the gut. If you have problems with your gut (digestive system), which unfortunately the majority of people in industrialized nations do, then you're going to have other health problems. (Houston, we definitely have a problem.)
When we digest our food, #1 it's broken down. #2, the nutrients are built up & absorbed into our body. If the digestion (breaking down) part doesn't happen correctly, then the nutrients aren't built up & absorbed completely or correctly.
In her book "Nourishing Traditions", Sally Fallon points out the following:
"Scientists are mystified by the proliferation of new viruses – not only the deadly AIDS virus but the whole gamut of human viruses that seem to be associated with everything from chronic fatigue to cancer and arthritis. They are equally mystified by recent increases in the incidence of intestinal parasites and pathogenic yeasts, even among those whose sanitary practices are faultless.
Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation and in our insistence on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms? If so, the cure for these diseases will be found not in vaccinations, drugs, or antibiotics, but in a restored partnership with the many varieties of lactobacilli, our symbionts of the microscopic world."
I know of many people who have reversed so-called "incurable" diseases by simply healing their gut. But that's a whole 'nuther story (and an important one)... Where can you at least start though?
There are lots of recipes, each varying just a little... & lots of techniques/tools (such as fermenting crocks, special lids, & plain ol' canning jars with traditional lids. You might want to read up a little & decide which style is best for you. I went for simple for the time being.
This recipe is adapted from the recipe in Nourishing Traditions.
Here's what I did (Photos of the process at top of post):
Cucumbers to fill a quart jar (it specifies pickling or gherkins, but I used regular baby ones. I really don't think it matters)
1 Tb. Mustard seeds
2 Tb. Fresh dill, snipped (I used dried, & it worked fine. Fresh is just easier to keep from getting all over the pickles. If you use dried, you can half the amount. I didn't though. I like lots of dill)
1 Tb. Himalayan salt (or other un-refined salt)
4 Tb. Whey (or 1 additional Tb. salt, if you don't have whey)
1-2 c. Filtered water
Wash cucumbers & place into a quart sized wide-mouth mason jar. (You can leave them whole, slice them vertically, cut them horizontally, or chop them 'relish' style)
Pour 1 c. water into jar.
Place cucumbers in jar of water.
Combine mustard seeds, dill, salt, & whey (if using).
Pour mixture over top of cucumbers.
Add more water to cover top of cucumbers.
*** Note: Top of liquid should be at least 1" below the top of the jar. If it's higher than this, pressure could build up & explode the jar (Kind of the same as when you fill something too high & put it in the freezer. You don't want that)
Cover tightly, & keep at room temp for about 3 days before eating, transferring to cold storage, or putting in refrigerator.
Is that easy, or what!? :)
How do you know if they're good? How do you know that they're not going to kill you? Use your eyes & nose. The lid does not need to be vacuum sealed. It can pop. What you want is darker cloudy water with a few little tiny fizzy bubbles on top. You also want it to smell "pickly" when you open it. If it smells sour, rotten, or like alcohol... throw it out. If it smells nice and... um... well, 'lacto-fermented'... then it's good!
You can lacto-ferment practically EVERYTHING! Veges, fruits, condiments, meats, cheese, dairy, beans, non-alcoholic beverages, yeast (sour dough or natural sweet yeast), & probably more.
Besides Nourishing Traditions (pictured below), there are a couple of other really good books on lacto-fermenting. My favorites are these: