Fermenting Your Own Veggies
A HEALTHY “MOONSHINE” – Fermented Vegetables
Hi, friends! It’s early August and I’m into the third week of my summer “sabbatical” in Walla Walla, Washington, enjoying a healthy dish of good‑probiotic‑laden fermented red cabbage and beets as I type.
No, really. It’s like sauerkraut, but more colorful, more apt to make lovely purple splotches on your white shirt, more mild‑tasting and delicious, and (when eaten raw) equally as healthy and full of digestion‑boosting lactobacillus acidophilus as any raw green sauerkraut.
CHEAP HEALTH FOOD!
But you know what is really super cool about this amazing snack? I made it MYSELF for pennies, not 6 bucks like you’d find in the health food section of a local grocery store, very quickly and easily‑‑and so can you!
Not only have I fermented cabbage and beets to snack on; I have also made fermented dill pickles, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and carrots that keep in the refrigerator for weeks and weeks as a go‑to raw veggie grab when I’m in the mood for a bite of something healthy with a bit of sass to make things interesting.
Although in the past few years I had already tried making sauerkraut using a few different methods, nothing got me as excited to start fermenting again as THESE amazing “Easy Fermenter” water-less airlock lids that I found from Nourished Essentials! They are ridiculously easy to use‑‑you just screw the lid onto any wide‑mouth regular canning jar containing your fermenting food, and then let time do the work for you.
Having used several methods previously, I’m sold on these. For anyone who is interested in making homemade sauerkraut, pickles, or other fermented veggies, there are a number of products available, but I have had great results with the Easy Fermenter. If you decide to try out this method, I have actually contacted these folks and signed up as an affiliate‑‑my first time EVER doing this, and I believe I’ll get a small reward if you decide to order off my link. You can order three of their Easy Fermenters plus the pump that comes with it, as well as the glass weights on their website here: Nourished Essentials
ASK YOUR DOCTOR/DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Since I’m interested in knowing true health benefits as well as any potential downsides to anything I post, I wanted to get a bit more education on lacto‑fermentation before I started making any claims that these foods will put hair on your chest and also be safe to consume. A quick search led me to an article on The Mayo Clinic’s website that states: “Probiotics are safe in the amounts you normally find in food.”
There are numerous probiotic supplements out there that you can buy, but I won’t comment on those; there are plenty of articles that deal with the benefits/safety of supplements. I’m of the mindset that we can get plenty of good probiotics from eating “real” food. If you plan to start ingesting a huge amount of probiotics that you haven’t had before, it’s always wise to check with your medical professionals first. But a plate of beet‑and‑cabbage kraut? It’s Happy‑Gut‑Dance food, in my book!
IT’S SCIENCE BASED…
…which means that THIS science experiment has been recreated and proven millions of times; so, if you follow good instructions, your ferments will turn out tasty and full of good stuff. Note: This post isn’t meant to be a complete “how‑to” article, just an introduction. There is a lot more in‑depth information on Nourished Essentials’ website, as well as from other companies who sell products and provide information for fermenting. (If there is enough interest, however, I just might take the next step and write a step‑by‑step tutorial!)
Here are a couple of results from my own first attempts, all of which turned out just delightful‑‑various veggies and pickles!
IT’S A SIMPLE CONCEPT, REALLY
A quick overview of lacto‑fermenting: Prepared foods are placed into containers and either covered with a brine (salt) solution OR smashed with salt to create their own brine. The salt keeps the bad (salt‑hating) bacteria at bay while the naturally present lactobacillus (salt‑tolerant) good guys take over. An airlock is put in place to keep the ferment in an anaerobic state (good guys love it; bad guys want oxygen). Sooner than you can believe, you have a fermented probiotic raw food that will keep in the refrigerator for an extended time period.
My most recent ferment (recipe from Nourished Essentials): Fizzy Cherry Tomatoes. They are very tasty and fun to eat! Note on these, though: Due to the nature of tomatoes, they won’t hold up as long in the refrigerator; the little fellas want to keep ripening. Not that they ever last long enough around me for that to happen, though…
For fun, here is a little video of how I made these, if you need evidence that I really did it.
My next fermented veggies recipe to try will be Nourished Essentials’ Citrus Maple Gingered Carrots. I just know they’ll be delicious! What will you ferment?