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. Here are 3 basic fermented vegetable recipes to get you started.
simple fermented vegetables
prep time: 15 minutes
makes: 6-8 (12 oz) jars
fermenting time: 8 days-2 weeks
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
medium sauce pan
jars with lids (i use these)
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.