It’s so easy to ferment fresh vegetables and if you have a backyard garden or access to a farmer’s market, you really should learn to ferment. If you have a dairy sensitivity, like I do, and want to get in more beneficial gut bacteria, you really need to learn to ferment vegetables. I avoid dairy yogurts and kefirs, even if they’re considered low lactose because I’m sensitive to dairy protein, not just the lactose. I really think a lot of people are dairy protein sensitive as well as lactose intolerant.
So, why is eat fermented food good for you? Well, fermenting not only offers a great way to preserve fresh foods without synthetic preservatives, it offers a whole bunch of beneficial lactobacillus, the gram positive bacteria that helps fight the bad guys (pathogens) in the gut. If you can tolerate dairy, lactobacillus bacteria also aids in the creation of the enzyme lactase. These beneficial bugs also aid the immune system in ways we’re still discovering, and may help keep IBS and IBD, in genetically predisposed people, from actually developing it. Beneficial microbiota may actually play a role in mental health too, more and more research is pointing in that direction. Pretty soon, doctors will be prescribing these foods for depression.
Fermentation is not the same as pickling, which requires going through the whole canning sterilization process. I promise you, this is easy to do. And, it’s so good for you.
Here’s what you’re going to need.
Filtered water (avoid chlorinated water), sea salt, jars or crocks, fresh cleaned vegetables. I’m using cucumbers here, and choice of spices (dill, garlic, onion, pepper, bell peppers, turmeric, lemon grass and any other herbs growing in your garden) .
- Make a sea salt brine, I used 5-6 Tablespoons of sea salt to a half gallon filtered water.
- Make sure jars or crock are clean.
- Add garlic and fresh dill to jars (I used 1 small clove to each jar)
- Cut up cucumbers length wise spears to fit jars, or small whole.
- Pack the jar with cucumbers, leaving little room.
- Pour brine into jars, leaving room at the top.
- Fold cabbage or any kind of leaf up, I used kale out of my garden to stuff into the top of the jar in order to keep cucumbers immersed in the brine.
- Cover the jar with a lid, but don’t tighten it down to tight. You want to allow air to escape from the jar during the fermentation process. You can also burp the tops if air starts to build up.
- Place jars in a warm room of 60-70 degrees. It’s okay if it’s a bit warmer.
- Let the jars sit for 4 days, then move to the refrigerator.