Let’s ferment some sh!t up shall we! If you haven’t already read my post on fermentation I suggest you take a gander. Fermented foods are simply amazing for your gut and over all well being. These foods do need some time to get used, something I am still exploring. But holy moly when you do, you will not regret it. Fermented foods are filled with probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that we tend to strip away from our guts by eating processed foods. Sadly, most of our foods these days are filled with processed ingredients, pesticides and other chemicals. We can help build that good bacteria in our guts by incorporating fermented foods on a daily basis. Things like, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi even pickles can help rebuild that good bacteria that will help send you on your merry little way.
Fermented foods are foods that are processed by converting carbohydrates into alcohol and then into acids like lactic acid bacterias, and other yeasts. This process must be done in an anaerobic environment, which means an environment that lacks oxygen. The whole process is kind of technical, especially when words like lactobacillus and bifidobaterium are thrown in the mix, but really it’s quite simple. Let’s dive in and actually make some fermented veggies shall we. Maybe it will help explain some stuff.
First things first, start with organic vegetables. There’s no point making yummy good bacteria to help fill your belly with chemical filled foods. I mean am I right? I just used three simple veggies, purple cabbage, carrots and onion. I guess I should break down all the things you need uh?!
Things you need yo:
Large glass bowl or glass container
Sea salt or canning salt (do not use iodized salt)
That’s pretty much it homie. Let’s get to it.
Wash your veggies. Shred you cabbage really thin. If you have a fancy tool to make your carrots really tiny, by all means do it to it. I just cut them into little match sticks. And cut your onion really thin as well.
You are going to pour each veggie in your glass container or bowl.
Now rule of thumb when it comes to salt, you are going to use 1 TBS for every 1 ½ lbs of veggies. A scale really comes in handy at a moment like this. Don’t get to intimidated here though. What the salt does is it draws out the moisture from the veggies. That moisture turns into liquid and that liquid covers the veggies creating that anaerobic environment that we talked about earlier. So just do the best you can with guessing how much you have and start from there. I did taste it along the way to make sure it wasn’t to salty. That’s what happened to my last batch. So adjust accordingly.
Here comes the fun part. You are going to massage your veggies and allow the liquid to be drawn out. I was pounding the you know what out of my veggies and nothing was happening. I kept taking breaks and thought, when in the world is this stuff going to get liquidy. After about ten or fifteen minutes my husband came over and I asked him to do it for a while and he just calmly and slowly crushed the veggies with the plunger. I used the plunger for our vitamix to get the job done. And what do you know, five minutes later there was more liquid then I could dream of. So the key here is to massage or crush your veggies and allow the liquid to be drawn out.
Once you have enough liquid to cover the top. You want to add a weight to your veggies. This ensures all veggies stay under the liquid. Again this is creating the anaerobic environment. If you have veggies that stay above the surface, mold can start growing. We are not trying to grow mold here people, we are trying to grow bacteria and yeasts. Since I used a glass container and my opening was not large at all, I used a pint size mason jar. A plate works great, you can make a bag of brine and place that bag on top too. To make brine mix a quart of water with 1 TBS of salt. You put brine in the bag just in case it opens up, your veggies are still good to go. To ensure my weight was heavy enough to push down my veggies and to raise the liquid, I filled it with water. There was no way the jar can spill since my container is so narrow.
Now you want air to get in but gnats and bugs to stay out, so you want to cover it with cheese cloth or a coffee filter works fantastic. Wrap a rubber band around it and this jar of deliciousness is going to sit on your counter anywhere from two to four weeks. WHAT!! Oh you heard me, two to four weeks. Bubbles will start to form on top, this is normal. That means you got some live active stuff starting to happen. Sometimes the bubbles or foam or scumb, whatever you want to call it, looks thick and white, just skim it off with a wooden spoon. Try and stay away from using anything metal. It tends to kill the good bacteria. Who knows though, some people say it’s fine. I just stay on the safe side. It’s going to kinda smell a little funky but that just means it’s fermenting and making all those yummy yeasts and bacterias. Every week give it a little taste and see where your taste buds start to sing. When they do sing, it’s time to pop it in the fridge. By putting it in the fridge, the fermentation process slows way down. It doesn’t stop completely just slows way down. So you are still growing those important probiotics.
Along with ever meal spoon some on your plate and enjoy. The more you eat the more your tummy will thank you.
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