We’ve discussed the importance of supporting your microbiota. Maybe you’d like to increase your intake of fermented foods, but have you noticed how expensive they are?
If you’ve purchased live, organic fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi, they can really add up over time. But did you know that making your own fermented veggies at home is really quite simple? You can begin by making smaller batches at a time, so you can gauge how much your family eats. Then you can time it so you never run out!
The Absolute Basics
Ingredients (makes about 1 quart)
- 4 c purified water (it cannot have chlorine)
- 2 T celtic, sea or himalayan salt
- 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar with the “mother” or whey from another ferment (such as yogurt)
- Clean jar
- Weight or something to hold the veggies below the water
- Vegetables: onions, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, celery, cauliflower
- Spices: garlic, chili peppers, ginger, black/pink peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander, cloves, juniper, caraway seeds, dill seeds, allspice, crushed bay leaves, fresh whole chili peppers
Choose your vegetables and spices; try different combinations until you find one you really like.
- Prepare the brine solution, making sure the salt is completely dissolved, then stir in the ACV or whey. The brine water is beneficial to lactic-acid-forming bacteria, while killing off most other microorganisms.
- Chop vegetables and prepare herbs/spices.
- Fill your jar 3/4 full with vegetables, layering the spices and herbs as you go.
- Cover the vegetables with the prepared brine; leave about 1″ of headspace to make room for your weight.
- Weigh down vegetables to hold them under the water line.
- Cover the jar with a lid (must release gasses 2-3 times a day) or use a ferment lid with an airlock.
- After about a week, taste to see if it’s fermented enough; move it to a cooler environment (around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit) to reduce potential mold growth.
- Once the flavor is to your liking, transfer to the refrigerator. This greatly slows down the fermentation process and you can store it there for a year.
If there is mold present on the surface only, simply skim it off and keep going. However, if the mold has made its way down, or you see strings growing down into the ferment, compost and start again. This is another reason why starting out with smaller batches at first is the easiest way to go.
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