Preparing fermented vegetables at home is simple, inexpensive and fun. And health benefits are great indeed.
This is a simple recipe how to prepare fermented vegetables at home without many ingredients or instructions. This batch actually turned out extremely well.
Keep it simple!
Fermented vegetables benefits
A healthy family: Research shows that consuming fermented vegetables help treat/prevent allergies, colds, infections, high blood pressure and many other health problems.
Simple to prepare: A few inexpensive vegetables, tools and jars is all you need.
Fast result: In a week or so you will enjoy delicious fermented vegetables.
Save money: Fermented vegetables are filling, packed with nutrients and can be enjoyed with every meal.
Jars: Use Mason jars or similar glass or ceramic vessels. Ceramic crock pots are excellent. Plastic can be used. Avoid metal jars.
For shredding: A simple box grater. For bigger batches use a food processor.
Kraut pounder (optional): Looks like a small baseball bat. Good to pack vegetables tight in jars. Using your fist is fine too.
A juicer (optional): For creating juice for brine, very practical. No juicer? Check steps 1 & 3 below.
This simple recipe is a favorite and my last batch turned out very nice. The vegetables became crunchy and the taste surprisingly complex- tangy with a hot ginger kick. The only change I did this time was leaving more empty space in the jars. Jars were filled to about 70% with vegetables so I could add more celery juice. This improved the taste.
Ingredients: Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, ginger, celery.
Brine: Juiced celery stalks. No juicer? See Step 1 below.
Salt: Himalayan salt, sea salt or other unprocessed salt. Avoid table salt. Salt preserves crunchiness and prevent growth of bad microorganisms.
Culture starter: For a more stable, predictable and faster fermentation.
Step 1: Prepare the juice and culture starter
|We use much celery to create juice. Celery greatly enhances the taste of fermented vegetables adding a slightly salty taste.|
No juicer? Dissolve starter in 1/2 a cup warm water with some honey or Agave and see Step 3.
|Dissolve a packet of Body Ecology starter culture in the juice. Mix thoroughly. Leave for 20 minutes or more in room temperature.|
The probiotic bacteria in the starter will become active and ready to transform the vegetables in an amazing process involving lacto-fermentation.
Step 2: Rinse and shred vegetables
|Cabbage is cheap, nutritious and crunchy; 70% of this batch is from green cabbage. |
Remember to put aside one whole cabbage leave for every jar you will use. It will be put on top of each jar later.
|Carrots are sweet and colorful making them great companions to green cabbage.|
Rich in vitamins A, K, minerals and the powerful compound falcarinol.
About 20% in this recipe are carrots.
|Bell peppers are beautiful with a fresh taste. Often remain crunchy when fermented.|
Contains over 30 different carotenoid nutrients.
About 10% are peppers in this batch.
|Ginger provides a wonderful, slightly hot taste. If you like this, add more. Be careful as the taste quickly gets very hot.|
Shred ginger smaller to avoid bigger pieces that taste too strong.
Contains powerful fenols and antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory. Promote digestion, lowers cholesterol, and strengthens the immune system.
|Add salt to the vegetable mix. Here I add a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt.|
Himalayan sal containis all of the 84 elements found in your body. It is far healthier for your body than commercial salt and its taste is wonderful.
Step 3: Add celery juice to vegetables
|Add celery juice to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the juice is well blended with the vegetables.|
No celery juice? Put a few cups of veggie mix into a blender. Add water to create a thick smoothie-like juice. Then add the starter cup from Step 1 to the blender. Pour this thick juice into the veggie mix.
Step 4: Pack jars with vegetables
|Use your fist to press or pack the vegetables into the jars. Pack as tight as you can!|
Fill the jars only to 70% with vegetables. The brine is important to protect the veggies.
The goal is to press out air; oxygen can disturb fermentation.
|Add a cabbage leave or two on top of the veggies. This will keep the vegetables submerged in brine. It is very effective.|
When you consume the vegetables, just discard the cabbage leaves.
Step 5: Ferment at room temperature
Where to place jars: Store jars where you can easily clean up in case some brine will leak out during fermentation. A kitchen sink, bath tub or on the floor.
Temperature: Around 70 degrees (20-22 C) is ideal. But a few degrees more or less is no problem.
Fermentation: Leave the jars for 5 to 7 days. In cooler temperature they might need another few days. If warmer, it might be faster. Start tasting on day three to determine when veggies taste ready.
Step 6: Store jars in a cool place
After fermentation is complete you should store the jars in a cool place like a fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process. The beneficial bacteria will still be alive and active, just at a slower pace.
We have stored some jars for 4 months and more without any loss in taste or texture. In fact, if stored properly the taste often improves; it becomes more complex. However, our batches seldom last that long because we just eat it all.
NOTE: Check brine levels in the jars after refrigerating. If you the fermented vegetables are consumed Zin a few weeks, then brine levels might not be critical.
However, if brine levels are low for many weeks, then it’s best to top up with water. Add enough brine when preparing the batch. Then this problem will not occur.
Enjoy fermented vegetables daily
If you’re a newbie: Beneficial bacteria cleanse the gut environment by removing bad bacteria, toxins and waste. Therefore, mild symptoms as bloating, gas, rash and cold symptoms might occur. Start slowly by consuming small amounts of fermented vegetables and gradually increase the amount to avoid symptoms. After a while you can consume a few tablespoons or more with every meal. However, also small amounts of fermented vegetables bring great benefits. Research show that probiotics support many body functions, from strengthening the immune system to controlling your mood.
I hope that creating fermented vegetables at home will be as enjoyable for you as it has long been for my wife and I.
Preparing fermented vegetables at home is simple, delicious and relaxing. Just look at the beautiful batch below!