Say, what? I hear you ask.
Fermenting vegetables (also known as culturing) is the preparation and storage of vegetables in such a way that their sugars and carbohydrates end up being converted into probiotic superpowers that help boost the good bacteria in our digestive systems.
Good gut health is something that is often overlooked but its important to note that what we put into our gut has a huge bearing on our overall health and wellness. Sugars and carbohydrates can be damaging to our gut, and a damaged gut can lead to all sorts of health issues including irritable bowel syndrome, “leaky gut”, autoimmune issues and allergies. It is recommended that people who suffer from these health problems eat fermented (or cultured) foods in order to restore gut health.
The fermentation process cuts down the sugar content in vegetables and produces a by-product called lactic acid, which is helpful in producing health flora in the gut. Fermented foods also contain vitamin k2 which is apparently a cancer fighter, and helps improve levels of vitamins C and A. For more information on why you should ferment, read here.
But now back to my first experiment in fermentation!
Some recipes suggest using whey however I didn’t have any available (it can easily be made by straining good quality yoghurt through a cheesecloth-the liquid that remains is whey) so I stuck with a recipe of water and Himalayan pink salt (although any salt will do).
Cut up some vegetables into bite-sized pieces. I used cauliflower, red capsicum, celery and carrots but you could also use beetroot and cabbage among other vegetables. In fact, this method is the same when making sauerkraut from cabbage! Better than the pre-packaged or tinned stuff.
Place the cut vegetables in a tall glass jar and fill the jar with salty water until the vegetables are just covered. How much salt do you add to your water? Enough so that the water tastes salty but is still drinkable. Make sure that you don’t fill the jar with water all the way to the top- leave some space to allow fermentation to occur properly.
Place a piece of cling wrap over the top of the jar, and then secure the lid on the jar.
Place the jar in a dark cupboard and leave for a week.
You will notice after several days, that the water will appear cloudy and murky. This is perfectly normal as the fermentation process is working its magic on your vegetables.
After a week, open the jar and notice the smell- like pickled vegetables. I have read that if fermentation has failed to occur, you will know by the smell!
And now your vegetables are ready to eat. You can also drink the liquid but as you do, make sure that you add more salty water to the jar to ensure the vegetables are still covered. Keep the jar of vegetables in the fridge.
I’m looking forward to eating my fermented vegetables as a side dish with tomorrow night’s slow cooked pulled pork for dinner!
Let me know how you go with your attempt at fermenting vegetables. I’d love to know what you used!