These are the best! Loaded with billions of probiotics and lots of enzymes, consider having some fermented veggies at every meal. Probiotics are crucial for digestion and while taking supplements is possible, they are costly and they may not be viable. A chemist friend of mine once showed me, under a microscope, various “leading brands” of probiotics – and just about every one was dead. DEAD – as in NOT VIABLE, as in a waste of money and, worse, not your expected outcome.
And with all the gut-brain-fertility-depression-fibromyalgia etc. connections being made in science, we are seeing more and more that maintaining a good digestive system has far-reaching benefits.
If you make your own fermented foods – kefir, kombucha, yoghurt, vegetables – you are ensured that the probiotics are plentiful (in the billions, skip right past the millions, which are not enough) and fresh and nutritious and inexpensive.
And it’s easy … just do it. You have all the tools at home, most likely, as you can see above (optional tea pot for enjoyment added).
Fermented veggies are awesome – you can do anything you like. Cabbage, carrots, fennel, string beans – if you’re not sure if a vegetable will make a good fermented version, try a small jar of it. Experiment with herbs, garlic, onions, shallots, wild onions, wild herbs, chives …. Have fun!
Below is one recipe for Fermented Julienned Carrots. In the next posting, I’ll give a recipe for cabbage, which cover basically the same steps, with a slight consideration to the way you keep the cabbage saturated in water.
For your first time, you could make a quart-sized jar, or just plunge in with a half gallon! They keep in the fridge for weeks, maybe months (mine never last that long).
Super easy, super cheap, super nutritious … awesome all round!
1-1/2 pounds fresh carrots, peeled and then cut into julienned slices
small onion, sliced thin or minced (could use shallots)
a few garlic cloves, optional, sliced
fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon whey (see below – or add another tbsp of salt instead, though I like the whey)
>> another options is to do a ginger carrot combo
Using a wide-mouth quart jar (or double and use a half gallon), take about a cup of filtered water and dissolve the salt in it. Add the carrots so they pack in nicely. Add in dill and onions and garlic. Stir.
Fill the jar with filtered water, to cover the carrots, leaving about 1″ headspace. Shake it up a bit. (I just cover and place upside down a few times).
Cover the top with a cloth (I use a cloth napkin). Put a rubber band around it.
Place at room temperature, 65-80 being ideal, and allow to culture for 7-10 days or longer, as desired. Keep out of direct sunlight. Check after 4 days, particularly if the weather is warm or if you’re impatient – it may be to your liking at that point.
Ideally, use a wooden slotted spoon to dish out the carrots. Metal may react with brine a bit. Plastics are nasty. But convenience rules!
I drink the brine – it’s loaded with nutrients! (and I love the salty taste!)
TO MAKE THE WHEY
take some whole-milk, organic yoghurt. If the whey on top is clearly visible (and clear), then drain off a tablespoon, or 2 tablespoons if you are making a half gallon. If not, then take a small strainer, put a coffee filter (could use an unbleached paper towel if you’re not a coffee drinker) and put if over a glass. Take a few tbsp of yoghurt, place in strainer and let sit for 20 minutes or so – until you get the desired amount of whey. You don’t have to wait for it – you can just add in at the last minute.