Friday, August 29, 2014

Fermentation Means Probiotics! {Fermented carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage..}

Modern fermentation is basically a controlled rotting of various veggies. You've probably eaten pickles or sauerkraut before, but of they came from a jar off a store shelf, they weren't really "pickled" or fermented - they were probably simply sitting in a vinegar and salt solution for who-knows-how-long before you came around to eat them.

You really want your fermented foods to be alive. You want the presence of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria begin to break down your food, feeding off the carbohydrates and sugars to multiply. You benefit from them in many ways.

Fermentation improves the digestibility of foods. It helps produce the vitamin K2. The little buggers that thrive in fermenting conditions help out our guts and immune systems. It's all-around good news and tasty to boot!

As for me, I'd only ever made pickles a couple times, though I regularly made fermented carrot sticks. One day though, as I was cutting up a watermelon, I thought about pickled watermelon rind.

I fell upon The Domestic Man's recipe. And I realized that his method for pickled watermelon rind was pretty darn similar to my method for pickled carrots. I looked up a few other veggies - and you know what? All similar.

So, basically, here's the method I use to make my carrots, but I've also done many other veggies as well. When I make cabbage rolls, I save the thick stems and pickle them. I cut up my Pépé's giant zucchini and make pickled zucchini sticks. I make regular old pickles. I've even done cabbage before, though you don't need to add water as cabbage releases a lot of its own {you just have to salt it very well and wait}.

So, to start, add some spices to a jar. I always use garlic, and sometimes that's all I use. I've added fresh thyme here because it's wonderful with carrots. I also love using these sorts of jars because extra gas can ease its way out of the jar, all while keeping a closed seal. No exploding jars, perfect ferment every time.

Then, chop up your carrots {or whatever veggie you're using}. I like to make sticks because I can pack them in tightly and not have any floaters - that way everything stays submerged. You can cut them anyway you like though, just don't ferment for too long or you'll end up with mold on top {I'm speaking from experience - I avoid floaters now}.

Now you need to dissolve some salt into some warm water. I use about 1 tbsp of salt for a large jar, but you can experiment with your favorite level of salt. Just pour it over, leaving a bit of space at the top of the jar for gases.

The you place the jar in a coolish, darkish place for 3-15 days. Once you open the jar, you should refrigerate it. This will slow the fermentation progress, but won't kill off the healthy bacteria.

Remember though - this is a condiment, not a meal. Eating too much at once could cause gas, bloating, etc. Use your better judgement and start out slowly, eating a little bit each day for best results.


  1. That's it??!?!?! I could easily do that! Which I will, thanks :)