Bon Appetit - Just Plain Good Food
Easy Fermented Vegetables & Sauerkraut
There are so many resources on fermenting, but the basic easy concept is often complicated.[i] The HN4U Journey to Health group consists of beginners to advanced in the art of fermenting. That is why it is good to refresh on the how to do ferment process with vegetables once in a while.
Easy Vegetable Fermenting Steps Guide
1) you can ferment just about anything, so don’t feel like you have to buy foods you are unsure of. Start with those that are affordable, easy to clean and prep and familiar. The more color the better, probiotic bacteria need the polyphenol compounds present in colorful vegetables to thrive.
(this is not an exhaustive list)
Purple cabbage ~ Green cabbage ~ Sweet onion ~ Purple onion
Garlic ~ Kale ~ Rainbow chard ~ Bok choi
Spinach ~ Peppers, sweet ~ Chiles, mild-hot ~ Leeks
Cilantro ~ Celery ~ Carrots ~ Daikon Radish
Radish, red ~ Beets ~ Turnips ~ Potato
Ginger ~ Cucumber
2) Tools can be fancy or simple
- Container for fermenting – large crocks; medium and small stoneware or ceramic cookie jars with lids; or quart wide mouth canning jars and plastic Ball lids (metal rusts or corrodes from salt and lactic acid)
- Sharp heavy chef’s knife and wood cutting board (wood is naturally anti-bacterial and doesn’t damage knives)
- large bowl to mix in (stainless steel can be used to mix but not to ferment in, plastic only if nothing else is available.
3) Celtic Sea salt, coarse (has a high trace mineral content) from Selina Naturally.
4) Filtered water (fermenting will fail if chlorine is present in the water).
5) A selection of 1-5 organic vegetables for fermenting. Wash vegetables in a vinegar water solution to remove residue, dirt or wee bugs.
1 C white vinegar
1 Gallon cold water
6) Starter – we use Bubbies naturally fermented sauerkraut and dill pickle relish. Once we have our own fermented vegetables, we reserve 1-2 cups with liquid as the next batch starter.
Easy Fermented Kraut or Veggie Slaw (Tammera and Michael Karr)
1 small organic cabbage
1-2 organic carrots, grated
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small purple or sweet onion
1-2 mild-hot chiles, sliced into thin rings. Seeds add to the heat, remove if you want a mild heat.
1 red or orange sweet pepper, sliced into thin strips about the thickness of a spaghetti noodle.
2 tbsp coarse salt
½ cup Bubbies Naturally Fermented Kraut with juice, starter
1-2 cups filtered water
Place washed veggies on a towel to absorb water while you begin thin-slicing (shredding or julienning) vegetables. It is easier to cut cabbage, onions, radishes, turnips, and beets in half, then do thin slices (flat side down). A food grater or mandolin can be used but it isn’t necessary.
Once vegetable slaw is in your mixing bowl, add starter and 1 tablespoon of salt and massage or burse the vegetables with your hands while mixing thoroughly; this allows the salt and ferment starter to start working. Were gloves if your hands are sensitive.
If using dill relish and wanting a more traditional sauerkraut – add 1 teaspoon of Fennel or Carraway seeds.
Now that everything is mixed begin filling the fermenting vessel, or jar. Pack the vegetables in tightly, pressing out all the air. Fill to within 2-3 inches of the top and cover with brine water made with 1 tablespoon of coarse salt and 1 cup of filtered water. Make sure the vegetables are covered with water, and place a loose-fitting lid on the top.
You will want your jars or containers in a plastic tray or on a plate to prevent any escaping liquid from making a mess. Place in a cool area out of direct sunlight.
1- 2 times daily uncover vegetables and press slaw/kraut matt down (they begin to float right away) under the liquid. By day three a froth of bubbles should come to the surface when you compress the kraut or slaw.
If not, move to a slightly warmer area with good air circulation. When it is cold, fermentation may take up to 6 days. Take a small sample of your kraut for a taste, when it reaches the tangy taste pleasing to your pallet, pack into glass jars (if using a large fermenting jar) seal plastic lids down tight and place in the back of the fridge.
Will keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months.
[i] Our Journey with Food Cookery Book pages 273, 292