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Fermentation is a natural process, and in many cultures, has traditionally been used as a method of preserving food and drink. At the moment, fermentation is enjoying a revival due to the many health benefits of consuming probiotic-rich foods. Consumption of fermented foods and/or beverages introduces highly bioavailable beneficial bacteria into the gut, leading to improved digestion, better nutrient absorption and enhanced immune function. Recent research has even linked consumption of fermented foods with better mental health and lowered social anxiety!  

Fermented Veggies

Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique creating a product whose flavor changes over time and serves as a healthy probiotic.
A fermented food has been preserved and transformed by benign bacteria (often lactic acid bacteria). Usually, that means that the starches (sugars) and fiber present in the food have been eaten by the good bacteria. The bacteria then convert that sugar into other substances, like acids, carbon dioxide, and alcohol. Those substances preserve the food and add to its flavor. 
Pickling on the other hand, preserves flavor but does not change the substance. A pickle is simply a food that’s been preserved in a brine (salt or salty water) or an acid like vinegar or lemon juice.
Sauerkraut is a fermented and pickled substance. The sauerkraut is fermented in it's own brine and the lactic acid on the cabbage change the cabbage making it softer and changing it's flavor over time.
Kombucha, sourdough bread, yogurt, or beer is fermented but not pickled.
If you can chop, measure, stir, and scoop, you can make fermented veggies!
Using whey in the lacto-fermenting process offers consistency and food for the lacto-loving bacteria,  but it isn’t absolutely necessary. If you want to skip the whey, then you can add more salt. A good Celtic salt inhibits pathogenic bacteria for several days until enough lactic acid is produced naturally.
Kraut is typically made with green or red cabbage but other veggies like carrots ,beets, and cauliflower are also good fermenters.
If you don’t have weights to keep the vegetable below the liquid, simply use a fork to push the vegetable material under the water every day to prohibit any mold from developing at the top.
Once you’ve made kraut, experiment with dill fermented green beans, fermented salsa, ginger carrots, and more.

Equipment

  • Nesting mixing bowls (for kraut)
  • Quart-sized wide mouth jar with lid

Ingredients
  

Perfect Pickles

  • 4-5 pickling cucumbers
  • 1 TBSP mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp dill sprigs
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 4 TBSP whey If you don't have whey you can increase the salt by 1 tablespoon.
  • 1 cup filtered water

Sauerkraut

  • 1 med head of cabbage You could use cabbage by itself or add carrots, celery, cucumbers, beets… the possibilities are endless.
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 4 TBSP whey If you don't have whey you can increase the salt by 1 tablespoon.
  • 1 cup filtered water this is optional and may not be needed if your vegetables have enough brine on their own.

Instructions
 

Pickles

  • Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized wide mouth jar.
  • Combine remaining ingredients and pour it over the cucumbers. Add more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers but leave at least 1 inch of room at the top of the jar.
  • Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

Sauerkraut

  • Chop the cabbage (green, purple of nappa) into thin strips and place it into a deep bowl (nesting bowls are perfect, use a larger of two)
  • Add the salt (and whey if using that) to the vegetable matter and mix it around so that each piece is covered. You can additionally add other flavorings like dill, garlic, mustard or other.
  • Place the smaller of the nesting bowls on top of the salted vegetables and press it down onto the veggies to press out the natural water within the veggies themselves. You may need to put a weight into the bowl.
  • If after 30 minutes your veggies are not submerged into their own brine than add up to 1 cup additional water (or add water just to lessen the saltiness). You can transfer the veggies to a ball jar with a weight or leave it in your nesting bowls. In either case it's important that the vegetable matter be submerged under the brine (salt water).
  • Ferment your kraut for 3 days or more days before transferring to cold storage. The longer you ferment the stronger the flavor. Cover tightly store in the fridge for consumption once you have the fermentation flavor you like.
Keyword probiotic

Post Author: EZBalanceWellness