As much as I try, I just can’t get myself to like sauerkraut. Actually, I hate it. That said, there are other ways to enjoy the benefits of fermented vegetables without using cabbage!
This Spicey Ginger Carrots recipe is a prime example. I LOVE the taste of carrots and ginger and wanted to spice it up a bit using some Daikon, plenty of garlic and a hint of pickle. The combination melds really well and I can now enjoy fermented vegetables.
Benefits of Fermented Vegetables
Before refrigeration was invented lacto-fermentation was the method used to preserve food. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria, thereby preserving food.
Lactobacilli reside on the surface of vegetables and fruits and will convert the sugars and starches in these foods into lactic acid. Eating these naturally preserved foods aids the human digestive system in many ways.
First and foremost, we are able to maintain large populations of beneficial bacteria in our gut simply by eating cultured foods. Most people who do this, will not require a probiotic supplement.
Beneficial Bacteria Live Symbiotically With Us
These bacteria form the mucosal layer of the human digestive tract. Most of the bacteria reside in the colon. However, they do live in all the other parts of the digestive tract, although in lower numbers. There are literally trillions of cells of bacteria, fungi and yeast living in a balanced harmonic state in a healthy individual. There are actually more gut microflora in our intestines than there are cells in our bodies. That’s a lot! And they are very important to our health.
Here are links to other cultured foods with videos!
- 1 bunch of fresh carrots – set aside one and make slices (to cover the top of the grated carrots)
- 1 medium Daikon radish
- 1 large cucumber seeded
- 1 whole garlic bulb peeled and chopped
- A 2" piece of ginger peeled and minced
- Vegetable culture starter
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 cup filtered water + more to fill the jar
- Prepare your fermentation jar with the airlock lid
- Add 1 packet of vegetable starter in a cup of water and mix – set aside
- In a food processor – use the grate attachment to grate the carrots, cucumber and daikon
- Place the grated vegetables in a large bowl
- Add the sea salt, garlic and ginger and mix together (clean hands are OK)
- Add the vegetables to the fermentation jar and press down as you add
- Add the cup of water with the starter and add as much water as you need to fill it leaving 1" at the top
- Add the sliced carrots over the top to help keep the grated vegetables down
- Add the glass weights on top of the sliced carrots and close the jar with the airlock
- Label with the date and set in a cool place out of direct sunlight – I like to keep a towel around the jar
- Ferment for 7 – 10 days (14 days max) and then taste
- Refrigerate and start using as desired
- 2 quart mason jars or 1/2 gallon fermentation master with air lock or regular lid (mason jars) (air locks) (air lock with tops)
- Glass weight to hold everything under the brine (where to buy)
Tip: Make sure all the vegetables are under the brine or you will get mold growth. Use a glass weight (like these) to hold everything under the brine.
As with all fermented foods, start with very small amounts (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon) and gradually work up. Fermented vegetables are to be used as a condiment – not large quantities.