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Using starter cultures

Why use a starter culture to ferment vegetables?

Throughout history, people have fermented vegetables in order to preserve them and improve their taste. Spontaneous fermentation without an effective starter relies on the micro-organisms that are naturally present on the vegetables. This can certainly work, but the results are erratic and can even be risky.

Inoculating the vegetables with Caldwell's starter culture for vegetables makes it possible to decrease the pH to a safe level in less than 24 hours, an important step which usually does not happen with spontaneous fermentation. Using this starter culture therefore ensures the rapid destruction of harmful micro-organisms.

In addition, when vegetables are allowed to ferment with only naturally-occurring micro-organisms, there will be wide fluctuations in taste and/or keeping qualities, since there is no way to tell which bacteria or yeasts will prevail over the others. Again, using Caldwell's starter culture helps to control and stabilize the process and therefore the results.

What makes Caldwell’s starter culture different?

Caldwell Bio Fermentation Canada have spent the last 15 years producing and researching the production of raw cultured vegetables.

Their collaborative research projects with the Food Research and Development Center of Agri-Food and Agriculture have given them a unique insight into the science of lacto fermentation. One of the outcomes of this investment is an in-depth knowledge of the precise types, quantities, and ratios of bacterial strains that are required to make up an efficient starter culture for vegetables.

We are pleased to be able to offer you this unique starter culture to help you enjoy making your own raw cultured vegetables at home. Watch our video to see how you can make your own delicious fermented veggies.

Which vegetables can I culture using your starter culture?

Caldwell's starter culture will work with any of the following vegetables: green cabbage, red cabbage, turnips, daikon radish, black radish, carrots, beets, fiddle heads, and most other low-sugar vegetables or combinations of vegetables.

Can I use your starter cultures to produce raw cultured vegetables commercially?

The starter culture that we sell for home use can certainly be efficient for small-scale commercial production. Please contact us at for discounted prices on larger quantities. Caldwell's BLAC I and BLAC II starters are specifically designed for the production of raw cultured vegetables on a larger scale, and are not available to the general public. Please contact Vitality Foods Ltd for further details.