«

»

Sep 02 2016

Healthy Notions of Fermented Vegetables

 

Fermented Pickles

Fermented small cucumbers with carrots.

 

What is it?
Fermenting or lacto-fermentation is a method of food preservation you can use on some of your favorite vegetables. It consists of cutting them up and placing them into a jar, covering with a salt and water mixture (called a brine) and letting it sit for a few days while it ferments.

Why ferment in the first place?
The fermentation process helps to increase the nutrient-density of the food, preserves it, and creates good bacteria along with a host of B vitamins and enzymes. It creates lactic acid and is “pro-biotic” which means it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestinal tract or gut. This is the opposite of “anti-biotic” which goes into our gut and kills off both the bad and the good bacteria. It is our responsibility to replace the good bacteria when that happens and eating fermented foods is one way to help restore and repopulate a gut that is not feeling well.

As you may know, approximately 80% of our immune system is in the gut, so it is in our best interest to feed it well with good foods that provide healthy bacteria.

I am learning a lot about the virtues of fermenting vegetables through my Nutrition Consultant training and from the Sally Fallon book, “Nourishing Traditions, “ among other natural food writers. The vegetables that I love to work with are cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, beets, and pickling cucumbers. This post discusses pickling cucumbers.

How I ferment my vegetables
What you will need the following:

  • A wide-mouthed glass mason jar or any other large jar (no plastic or metal jars.)
  • Spring, distilled, reverse-osmosis or purified water (do not use tap water as it has chlorine which inhibits bacterial growth.)
  • Basic Brine Mix: 2 tsp of salt per cup of water. You can use more or less depending on your taste for saltiness. Taste your mixture to decide how much more salt you will need. Use Real Salt or equivalent (do not use iodized table salt as it may inhibit bacterial growth.)
  • Small or pickling cucumbers with some carrot slices
  • You may also add sliced onions, some whole garlic cloves, fresh dill, mustard seeds, peppercorns and extra dried herbs of your choice.

Instructions:

  1. Rinse, but do not scrub or peel cucumbers and cut into the size you desire (long slices, round slices, etc.)
  2. Place and press vegetables in jar. Add herbs and spices. Leave about ½” to 1” of air space on top.
  3. Mix and dissolve the brine mixture using at least 2 tsp of salt per cup of water. You can start off with a little warm water to get the salt to dissolve and then add the rest of the water, mix and add to the jar.
  4. One important point is that all the vegetables must remain submerged under the water at all times to avoid rotting and molding. You can either use a big cabbage leaf or similar as a topper to hold down the vegetables and press it onto the top of the vegetable mix, pour some more brine over it to keep it in place. You are using this topper to keep the vegetables down. Here are some more ideas to keep the veggies down: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-keep-fermented-vegetables-submerged-when-fermenting-glass-jar
  5. Cap jar and place in a warm area (room temperature) of the kitchen and cover with a small towel. Storing it by or on top of a refrigerator is a warm good idea.
  6. Let ferment for 2 days. Check it everyday to make sure the vegetables are still submerged. You will see evidence of fermentation as little bubbles here and there. That is the lactic acid developing. After a couple days, you could open it, smell it to make sure it does not smell rotten, then very carefully pull out a piece and taste test it. If it is to your liking, put it in the refrigerator to slow and stop down the fermentation process. At this point, it is ready to eat. If you want a more salty taste, let it sit for a day and taste test again.

That’s it. You can even use the brine as salad dressing, so don’t throw it away. Eat at least a Tablespoon or more of fermented vegetables a day to keep your gut in check. It is especially a good thing to do during the colds and flu season to build up your immune system.

Enjoy!

 

CLICK HERE for supplements, herbs, and books in our
Healthy Notions Amazon Store!

– OR –

Make it easy: Buy all your bulk herbs and supplies through our affiliate Mountain Rose Herbs!

 

————-

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that our posts may contain affiliate links for which we may receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables us to empower and educate more people worldwide to live healthier and more conscious lives. Many thanks to you!

————-

 

Sources:

Real Food, My Way:
http://realfoodmyway.blogspot.com/2009/06/of-probiotics-and-pickles.html

Nourishing Days:
http://www.nourishingdays.com/2009/07/the-benefits-of-fermented-food-lacto-fermented-vegetables/

Cultures for Health:
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-naturally-culture-ferment-vegetables

Permanent link to this article: http://healthy-notions.com/healthy-notions-of-fermenting-vegetables/