Fermented Veggies 101

This is the easiest and healthiest superfood you can make! Fermented veggies are a natural probiotic that build healthy intestinal flora. And since the immune system depends on friendly bacteria in the gut, this is central to your health each day. This is a great way to use up leftover raw veggies. Have fun experimenting with different vegetables, low-sugar fruits, creating new combinations. Store in the refrigerator for several months and serve it as a side dish with every meal. These veggies taste great with Paleo Butternut Squash Soup, or Paleo Shepherd’s Pie. It’s easy to chop or grate with a food processor or blender, but not required. You’ll need two 1-quart glass jars with lids. Makes 1 quart veggies.

fermented-veggies

Fermented Veggies

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups vegetables—any vegetable you have! My favorites are cabbage, beet, carrot, daikon, broccoli, cucumber, onion, green beans, kale, chard, zucchini, wild greens, ginger, cilantro, parsley (stems and all), watercress, garlic, ginger, black pepper, soaked seaweed, Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cups filtered water

Instructions

  1. Shred or chop your veggies: Use a food processor (grater or S-blade), a super-blender, or grate and chop them by hand. It doesn’t matter how large they are. Small particles will ferment a bit faster. Stir in the salt, if using.
  2. Pack the veggies tightly into a quart jar (like a Mason jar). Press them down tight to remove any air pockets. I use a drinking glass as a press.
  3. Add water so it is 1 inch higher than the veggies. Some people like to cover them with a big cabbage leaf or a slice of cabbage rind. The idea is to weigh them down to keep the veggies under the surface of the liquid. Leave an inch of empty space above the water. Some people like to add a few teaspoons of liquid from another batch of fermented veggies as a starter—this is optional.
  4. Screw the lid on the jar tightly and leave in a dark cupboard. Fermentation takes 4 to 10 days depending on the temperature. In the summer 4 to 7 days, wintertime about 2 weeks. The ideal temperature is 68 to 75 °F. If the veggies rise above the water, push them back down to keep them submerged. To check if it’s ready, taste it with a clean spoon. When finished, have a big serving and store in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for 6 months or more.
  5. Tip: Yes, it can happen, rarely, that unfriendly bacteria gets in. You’ll know immediately, as the veggies will be brownish, slimy, and inedible.

“Your diet is like a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” Bethenny Frankel