Choose organic vegetables if possible. Fermenting increases the vitamin and mineral content of the vegetables so it’s best to start with vegetables at the peak of freshness.
- • Cabbage is the most popular vegetable used for fermentation.
- • Turnips and other root vegetables ferment well.
- • Vegetables such as peppers or carrots can be added for color and flavor. Experiment to find out what you like!
Sterilize Your Equipment
It’s essential all your jars and utensils are clean before fermenting. You’re creating a bacteria-friendly environment, so it’s important no undesirable bacteria remain that could multiply.
- • Pulling jars directly out of the dishwasher after the drying cycle ensures sterility.
- • If you suspect cleanliness issues, submerge your jars and utensils in boiling water to sterilize them.
- • It’s more likely the good bacteria would crowd out any bad bacteria, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re culturing vegetables.
- • Vegetables culture at room temperature, so find a place in your kitchen or home where they can sit out of direct sunlight for at least 7 days.
- • For a more sour taste, ferment until your desired taste, testing every week. When they reach your desired flavor, refrigerate to slow fermentation.
- • The more sour the taste, the more beneficial bacteria is present. You might find that your taste buds change and your body begins to crave these friendly microbes.
- • Glass jars and lids are easy to find online or at your local discount or hardware store.
- • Be sure you have large bowls to accommodate the vegetables as you shred and mix them.
- • You can use a spatula or spoon to pack the vegetables into the jars. No need for fancy equipment!
NO FERMENTED FRUIT
You can ferment fruits as well as vegetables, although more care must be taken when working with fruits because the sugar in them produces small amounts of alcohol when fermented. Fermented fruit is not appropriate for a gut-healing protocol.
You can use these steps to ferment other vegetables as well.
1 medium head cabbage
1 TB. sea salt
Spring or filtered water
1 Remove the outer 2 or 3 leaves from head of cabbage, and thinly slice cabbage using a chef’s knife.
2 Place sliced cabbage in a large bowl. With clean hands, begin to work cabbage, squeezing and massaging it until it starts to release liquid. (This is called the brine.)
3 Tightly pack shredded cabbage into 1-quart glass jars. Use your hands, a spatula, or any sturdy kitchen tool to press firmly. Add sea salt.
4 Use a small glass to pack down cabbage one last time, leaving 2 inches (5cm) breathing space at the top of the jar. Add the lid, close firmly, and then loosen a quarter turn.
5 If cabbage has not produced enough brine on its own, fill the jar with water until cabbage is completely submerged.
Let the jars sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 7 days. “Burp” the jars each day by opening the lids, closing firmly, and then loosening a quarter turn.
Taste sauerkraut after 7 days. For a more sour flavor, ferment for up to 2 weeks. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.