Preparing fermented vegetables at home is simple, inexpensive, and fun. This recipe shows how to make homemade fermented vegetables without many ingredients. This batch actually turned out extremely well.
Keep it simple!
Health: Consuming fermented vegetables is an excellent way to keep the digestive tract in good order.
Simple: A few vegetables, tools, and jars is all you need.
Fast result: In about a week you can enjoy a delicious product.
Cost effective: Fermented vegetables are filling, packed with nutrients, and can be enjoyed with any meal.
Jars: Mason jars or similar glass or ceramic vessels. Ceramic crock pots are excellent, but more expensive. Plastic can be used but avoid metal jars.
Shredding: Use a box grater; for bigger batches 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): Good to make juice for brine. No juicer? Check steps 1 & 3 below.
This simple recipe is a favorite because it’s fast and simple. This batch turned out nice and crunchy, tangy with a hot ginger kick. Fill the jars to about 70% with vegetables and I add enough celery juice to cover the veggies completely.
Ingredients: Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, ginger, celery.
Brine: Juiced celery stalks and leaves, about 1 quart (1 liter).
Salt: Himalayan or sea salt; avoid table salt. Salt promotes crunchiness and inhibits growth of bad microorganisms. Use 1-2 tablespoons per quart of veggies.
Culture starter: Promotes a stable, predictable, and faster fermentation.
Step 1: Prepare juice and culture starter
Celery juice is great with fermented vegetables and adds complexity. Dissolve a packet of Body Ecology (or other) starter culture in the juice. Mix thoroughly. Leave for some 20 minutes at room temperature.
Option1: dissolve the starter in 1/2 a cup lukewarm water with half a teaspoon honey. Option 2: put a few cups of the veggie mix into a blender, add water to create a thick smoothie-like juice. Add the starter from Step 1 to the blender. Pour this thick juice onto the veggie mix. Continue with step 3.
Step 2: Rinse and shred vegetables
|Cabbage is cheap, nutritious, and crunchy. This time I used 60-70% green and red cabbage. Put aside a cabbage leaf for every jar; we will need those later.|
|Carrots add a nice color and goes well with cabbage.|
15-20% in this recipe are carrots.
|Bell peppers are beautiful and often remain crunchy when fermented. They look nicer if not cut too fine. I use about 10% bell peppers here.|
|Ginger provides a wonderful, slightly hot taste. I use a lot! Shred ginger smaller as bigger pieces tend to be too chewie. Ginger has a long list of benefits.|
|Add salt to the vegetable mix. Himalayan or sea salt is fine.|
Cut and shred the veggies. Having access to a professional kitchen is great and simplifies the work for large batches. However, this is not a requirement. The shredded vegetables look and smell fabulous!
Step 3: Mix starter juice with vegetables
|Add the celery juice starter to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly until the juice is well blended with the vegetables. The mix should be thoroughly wet, be generous with the juice.|
Step 4: Pack the jars
|Use your fist or an instrument to pack the vegetables tight. Fill the jars to 70%. The goal is to press out air as oxygen disturbs fermentation. Enough brine is important to protect the veggies and it also improves the taste.|
|Add a cabbage leave or two on top to keep the vegetables submerged in brine. When you’re ready to 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 usually not a problem.
Fermentation: Leave the jars for 5 to 7 days. In a cooler room, you might need another days or two. Start tasting on day three to determine when it it’s ready. It should taste tangy, refreshing, and fermented.
Step 6: Store in a cool place
After fermentation is complete, store the jars in a cool place like a fridge or basement to slow down fermentation. The bacteria is still alive and active, just at a slower pace.
We have stored jars for four months without loss of taste and texture. In fact, stored properly the taste often improves, becoming more complex. However, batches seldom last that long as it’s all quickly eaten.
Brine levels in jars: If consumed quickly, brine levels are not critical. But it helps to avoid mold if the brine covers the veggies.
I hope your batch turns out as delicious as this one. Below the jars are ready to ferment, brine level are high. Looking good! During fermentation the colors will change and turn softer.
Fermented vegetables at home is a joy. Don’t you just love the sight of it!