How long does Kenchi keep?

Kenchi products will keep for a long time in the refrigerator, usually at least 4-6 months. After several months some of the vibrant colors can fade, but the delicious taste does not. Some people prefer these aged ferments to younger ones. Please check the ‘Best By’ date on the bottom of your jar.

Do I have to refrigerate Kenchi products?

Yes. Although Kenchi will not spoil like many foods if it is left at room temperature, even for days, refrigeration slows the natural fermentation process down tremendously and maintains optimum freshness and crispness. Probiotic bacteria that produce lactic acid naturally preserve fermented foods. This dynamic community of beneficial bacteria along with the low pH environment they create prevents many pathogenic organisms from establishing a presence. People have been fermenting foods for thousands of years and used this method to preserve food before refrigeration existed.

Why are your jars sometimes hard to open?

Sometimes our jars can be difficult to open because the fermentation process does not stop completely, even with refrigeration. As the product continues to slowly ferment, pressure builds up inside the jar making it harder to open. You may or may not hear pressure release when you open the jar. If you are having trouble getting a jar open, try running the lid under hot water for thirty seconds.

Do you use starter cultures in your ferments?

No. All of our ferments are made using the wild, naturally occurring bacteria that are found on the fruits and vegetables we start with.

How do you obtain a sour taste without the use of vinegar?

Beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB) convert sugars present in the fruits and vegetables into lactic acid. This results in the crisp acidity you taste in lacto-fermented foods. In contrast, vinegar is produced by a different type of bacteria, Acetobacter, which converts ethanol into acetic acid, or vinegar. Many other pickled foods are acidified with vinegar.

Are your products heated or pasturized?

Our ferments are neither heated nor pasteurized in order to preserve the living probiotic bacteria present in all of our products and the benefits of eating them.

Do you use any preservatives?

No preservatives of any kind are added to our products. The acid created by lacto-fermentation naturally preserves the food.

Are your products spicy?

The Kenchi (yellow label) is our only spicy flavor.

How should I eat Kenchi products?

The only real limit to how you can use Kenchi products is your imagination. Kenchi products can accompany almost any meal. Some suggestions include: add to eggs of any style with avocado and toast; build a sandwich - a Kenchi Reuben; top a sausage, hot dog, or vegan dog; liven up a stir-fry; accompany a cheese plate; mix with lentils, soup, grains, greens, meat, or fish; even use in a cocktail – our Pickled Okra or Kenchi brine is an outstanding addition to a bloody mary!

Do you ship your products?

Kenchi products are not yet available for mail order. We hope to have that available soon! In the meantime please check our growing list of purveyors across the southeast.

Why are some garlic cloves blue-green in color, and are they safe to eat?

Pickled garlic, whether fermented or acidified with vinegar, can commonly result in blue-green colored cloves. An acid environment induces some breakdown of the cellular structures of the garlic. An enzyme naturally present in garlic called isoallin then reacts with amino acids and results in this unusual color. Some types of garlic grow with a naturally bluish hue, and all strains contain these anthocyanin compounds. Another contributor to creating these colorful cloves can be their exposure to trace amounts of copper present in water or sea salt. Garlic contains sulphur compounds. Copper can combine with these compounds to produce copper sulfate, which is blue-green in color. The bottom line is that blue-green garlic is safe to eat. One final note worth mentioning is that in northern China during the Laba festival, people set out to make Laba pickles, turning naturally blue garlic even bluer by soaking it in rice vinegar for a few weeks.