Monday, June 3, 2013

Lacto-Fermented Hummus

Do you sometimes make a double (or triple!) batch of hummus and then find that it still sitting in your fridge a week later?

I do.  Maybe you don't, because everyone in your house attacks it immediately, which does often happen here.  But sometimes, we just can't eat it all quickly enough. 

And then I become sad.  Because who would want to throw away such beautifully smooth and delicious hummus?

You see, I really like making large batches of hummus.  The best hummus is made from hot, just-boiled chickpeas.  As I shared in my post on hummus (How to Make Really (Smooth) Authentic Hummus), if you want smooth hummus, you need to either peel the chickpeas or make your hummus with hot, freshly boiled chickpeas.  So after I have gone through the work to soak and boil my chickpeas, I try to make as much hummus as I think we can manage to eat before it goes bad.  Otherwise, I have to freeze the chickpeas and peel them the next time I want to make hummus (not fun).

But then we have to EAT all of that hummus.   And even though Palestinians often serve hummus breakfast, lunch and dinner, we don't.   But I do love having hummus on hand all of the time.  I think Americans must love that, too, because Costco sells massive boxes of single serving tubs of hummus and they sell like hot cakes.  Because of the preservatives, store-bought hummus will last a long time in the fridge, but fresh hummus will usually only last about a week.  

So, here is a very easy way to extend the life of your homemade hummus.  It takes no time, doesn't change the flavor, and is as easy as stirring.

What is Lacto-Fermenting?

Lacto-fermenting is a very traditional method (think yogurt and sauerkraut) for preserving foods.  It removes the bad bacteria, which causes food spoilage, and allows the good bacteria (Lactobacillus organisms) to feed off of the lactose or other sugars present in the food, and converts them into lactic acid.  This lactic acid creates an acidic environment which safely preserves the foods, and gives the foods a little tangy flavor.

As exciting as it is to preserve your food, there is an even more important benefit to lacto-fermented foods. When you ferment your foods, you are converting them into living foods with active cultures, full of health-building probiotics that will improve your gut health and in turn, improve your overall health  (see previous post). So, something that takes (in this case) fifteen seconds of work, has a really high nutritional payoff. 

In this recipe, we are using whey as a starter culture.  Whey jump-starts the fermentation process by adding a supply of the Lactobacillus organisms.  These good bacteria  naturally live on fresh vegetables, so if you are fermenting vegetables (think pickles and sauerkraut), you don't have to use a starter.  Since hummus is made with a cooked legume, they are probably absent, so I am using a little whey as a starter.  If you don't have a supply of whey on hand, make a batch of labani, and save the whey.  Whey keeps in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to six months, but you can also freeze it in an ice cube tray so that you always have a supply.  


Lacto-Fermented Hummus

1 recipe hummus
1/4 cup whey

1.  Stir whey into your hummus.  Cover tightly with a lid, and leave on your counter for eight hours or overnight, then transfer to cold storage. 

Related Posts:

*Traditional Food Basics: Eat (Good) Germs
*How to Make Really (Smooth) Authentic Hummus
*Labani and Whey
*Just as Good as Hummus: Smokey Eggplant Dip

Shared at Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday.


  1. Now, why didn't I think of that? I went on a hummus-making spree a while ago, but ended up with a bit that just didn't get eaten. I'll have to try mixing in some whey - I had no idea it would be so simple to do!

  2. I hadn't thought of that either! I add a tablespoon of whey to store-bought organic ketchup, mustard, jelly, etc. but I never thought to do it with hummus! Thanks...

  3. Is that a fluid or a powder?The whey I mean and where do you buy it. I never saw it in shop in my country.

    1. Whey is the liquid produced when you culture dairy and then strain it. If you make labani, or a strained yogurt cheese, then you will have whey. You can read about it on my post that is linked at the bottom of this post. You can also produce whey just by making yogurt (it floats to the top), or by making other cheeses.

  4. This looks great! Somehow I always end up with massive amounts of hummus in my fridge and struggle to finish it before it spoils. How long do you think it would last with the whey in it?

    1. About a month. It will take longer than that for you to see mold, but it will start to taste a little strange after a month.

    2. Awesome! Thanks for the info!

  5. Wow, this is so awesome! This along with your post about using hot chickpeas is going to mean that I will be making a lot more hummus as soon as I go get a bunch of dried chickpeas. Thank you!

  6. Oh, my word. This is so amazing! How have I gone all these years, not knowing that you need to peel the chickpeas?! All I have is canned, right now, but they popped right out of their little jackets and this is some pretty awesome hummus. Thank you so much for sharing all the tips and tricks!


Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!