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FERMENTED VEGETABLES AT HOME

FERMENTED VEGETABLES AT HOME

Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving foods. During the fermentation process, the starches and sugars in the food are converted to lactic acid by friendly and helpful natural bacteria called lactobacilli. So, in a fermented food product, the acid that preserves it is created during the fermentation process. This results in a tangy, flavorful finished product that is full of live probiotics, which many people swear by for maintaining a happy digestive system, increased absorption of vitamins and minerals, and a well-functioning immune system. 

HOW TO FERMENT VEGETABLES:

1. Choose your fermentation equipment. You can use a fermenting crock, a clean glass bowl or glass mason jar.

2. Prepare your vegetables for fermenting.

Grate: This works well for hard or crunchy vegetables, such as zucchini. 

Slice: Slice firm vegetables thinly and soft vegetables thickly to preserve their shape. Sliced 
jalapeños are a great addition to any burger!

Chop: What size you chop the vegetables is up to you, but bite-sized pieces work well. Chopped fermented cauliflower and carrot pieces make an easy and healthy snack.

Whole: Small vegetables, such as radishes, Brussel sprouts and green beans work best if left whole. Pickling cucumbers are also fantastic.

3. Use Salt.

Salt and water are all you need for lacto-fermentation (flakey Kosher salt being the best option). 

4. Use water to prepare the brine.

You will need enough brine to be able to submerge the vegetables completely. The best fermentation results are achieved with a 2% brine. The easiest way to think about this is in grams. For every 100 grams of vegetables, you need 2 grams of salt. 

Filtered water is essential, in particular, water that is free of chlorine, chloramines and fluoride. Chlorine and fluoride will not support a healthy ferment as they kill the microbes.

5. Weigh the vegetables down under the brine.

Once the vegetables have been prepared, place them into the chosen fermentation vessel and weigh them down under the brine. Keeping them in an oxygen-free environment during the fermentation period is important. If you are using a bowl or mason jar, you can keep the vegetables submerged using a small glass or ceramic cup or plate.

6. Leave the vegetables to ferment at room temperature before moving them to the fridge. 

The fermentation time will depend on numerous factors, including temperature, the quantity of salt and the nature of the vegetable.  After leaving the vegetables to ferment at room temperature for 3 days, taste it. If they are not as acidic as you would like, leave them and taste after another 3 days, and so on. Once you are happy with the taste, move them to the fridge. The finished product will keep for months in the fridge.

FOODS TO FERMENT:

Cucumbers, Green Beans, Radishes, Carrots, Beets, Cauliflower, Turnips, Onion, Fennel, Chilies, Shrimp

DID YOU KNOW:  Those jars of brand-name pickles on the supermarket shelf have not been created through fermentation, but through immersing the cucumbers in vinegar (an acid that has itself been created through fermentation) and then pasteurizing them. The pasteurization process kills off the bacteria, resulting in pickles that contain no probiotics but will last a very long time.

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