Fermented vegetables are the ideal companion to any meal. They are loaded with probiotics, can improve digestion and incredibly easy to make at home. All you need is water, salt, vegetables and time!
When I lived in Romania, my family shopped at the local farmers market and ate seasonally. There was really no choice as it was that or starve. We didn’t have well stocked grocery stores so we had to be prepared. In anticipation of cold, long winters, my grandparents would ferment large quantities of vegetables that were not available in the winter. Little did I know just how beneficial fermented vegetables were.
Why eat fermented vegetables
Our western diet has done a number on gut flora and our digestive system as many of us are eating foods our body simply does not know how to assimilate and has a difficult time digesting. But I’m a firm believer that by eating fermented foods daily we can rebuild our healthy guts. This is in turn helps with food absorption, improved digestion and overall health. After all, if our gut isn’t healthy, then every other system in the body will be affected.
Fermented vegetables provide natural probiotics
I’m a proponent of supplementation but I’m also a firm believer that we can get everything we need from food. And one of the best way to populate and heal our guts, is through consuming probiotic rich fermented foods daily. It is a cheaper and healthier alternative to taking a pill every day.
How to make fermented vegetables
In order to demystify fermenting, I wanted to share some very basic recipes I frequently make. The easiest way to start is by using brine and cut up vegetables.
To make brine, all you need is a quart of room temperature water and 2-3 tbsp of fine sea salt. I prefer using fine salt as it dissolves quicker. Once the salt and water are combined, your brine is ready.
Feel free to add the seasoning of your choice. I prefer dill and garlic.
Preparing your jars before fermenting
I like throwing my jars and lids in a pot of boiling water to ensure the jars are clean and your vegetables ferment properly. Sometimes soap and water don’t do the trick removing whatever occupied the jars previously, so it’s an added step in ensuring you start with the cleanest possibly jars, in order for the saltwater to do its magic on the vegetables.
How long does it take to ferment vegetables?
I can be quite impatient and have opened carrots at about day 8-10. Ideally, I like to give them about 14 days but they’ll be quite delicious if you’re as impatient as I am!
Can you use different vegetables?
When it comes to fermenting, the options are limitless. There are no rules really but some vegetables may not need to rest in brine as they can produce water on their own. Here is a simple recipe for making your own sauerkraut.
Best vegetables for fermenting
Here is a quick list of the best vegetables to use for fermenting in brine:
So here are three basic fermented vegetable recipes to get you started! They’re as much fun to make as they are to eat! If you want a to make a batch of mixed vegetables, try this fermented vegetable medley.
Where can you find jars for fermenting vegetables?
You can find fermenting jars in most kitchen supply stores and sometimes even in super markets. I get mine online here.
- 1-2 lbs organic carrots cut into sticks
- 1 bag organic radishes, sliced
- 6-8 organic pickling cucumbers
- 1 quart filtered water
- 2-3 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 2-3 sliced cloves garlic (or more)
- a few sprigs fresh dill
- Prior to starting the fermentation process, I recommend putting your jars and lids into a large pot of water and boiling them for at least 10 minutes. You can do this while you make your brine and the jars and brine can cool at the same time.
- To prepare brine, combine warm water and salt and set aside to cool.
- Slice garlic cloves and add to jars along with as much fresh dill as you want.
- Slice radishes and cut carrots and pickles to be slightly shorter than the jar. Tightly pack each into jars, as many as can fit. Pour the cooled brine and fill all the way to the top ensuring that vegetables are covered completely.
- Twist on the lid and let ferment at room temperature for 7-14 days. Keep away from an area with temperature fluctuations such as a stove. If you have leftover brine, store it in the refrigerator and used at a later point.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 817mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g