Introduction: How to Make Fermented or Cultured Vegetables
About Fermented Vegetables:
Having healthy gut bacteria is extremely important to your overall physical and mental health. (See video Part 1 about why) My favorite way to consume good bacteria is by eating Fermented Vegetables that I make at home. You can buy them but they run expensive, between 30 and 50 dollars for a 2-week supply. When you make them yourself you also get to choose everything you put in there and it’s only about $40 for a 4-month supply. It’s important to take these on a continuous basis, I’ve heard Dr. McBride (founder of the GAPS diet) say in the course of taking these for 2 years you can completely alter a damaged digestive system. (See video below with one of her trainers explaining the philosophy of fermented vegetables)
It is recommended to eat about a quarter to half a cup (2 to 4 oz) of fermented vegetables with one to three meals per day. Bear in mind that since cultured foods are very efficient detoxifiers, you may experience detox symptoms, or a "healing crisis," if you introduce too many at once. For this reason it is recommended to start by just eating a half of teaspoon a day to start, and a little more each day to see how that feels. A healing crisis could come in the form of a rash, diarrhea, or becoming sick. That is because your body is expelling toxins from your body in any way it can.
As far as I know there is no side effects of any of these, but I am not a doctor Check with your doctor before taking anything
How to make Fermented Vegetables:
Equipment Needed: Preparation is key, you want a food processor, juicer, large bowls, 5 to 7 quarts size wide mouth ball jars with lids.
Have all ingredients at room temperature by leaving them unrefrigerated over night. Remember, you are creating an environment that bacteria can strive is, so cold vegetables don’t work well for this. You also don’t want to wash anything in tap water because it has chlorine in it, and be careful not to have any soap or chemicals around this. You also want to use organic vegetables because pesticides will also kill them.
(All ingredients Organic, Non GMO)
- 2 Head of Green Cabbage (must be the hard and heavy one)
- 1-2 Head of Celery for Juicing
- 3 Carrots, peeled
- 1 granny smith apple
- 1 Bunch of Kale, stems removed (can juice those)
- ½ Bunch fresh Parsley or dill
- 1 Green Pepper
- 1 Cucumber pealed
- 1-2 Culture starter packs
Get a pack of six culture starter here: Culture Starter by Body Ecology
I also like to open and add 1-3 Probiotic capsules from my supplements because they provide different strands of bacteria than the culture starter.
Optional extras to make it spicy:
- 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
- 1 Small Onion
- 2-inch portion of Ginger
- 2 Cayenne Peppers
- Start by putting culture starter in warm purified water with a tablespoon of honey. (This awakens the bacteria, for 20+ minutes while you process the vegetables.)
- Take off about 10 leaves from the cabbage to later seal the vegetables under the celery juice you create.
- Process all vegetables.
- Juice celery
- Put 2 cups of celery juice and cup or two of pure water in blender with a cup or two of processed vegetables and blend them together. This makes a brine for you to add the culture starter that is sitting in the honey.
- Pack vegetables down into ball jar, pack down tight with a spoon or your fist so that the vegetables are under the brine or juice. Leave about an inch and a half for the vegetables to expand.
- Put the leaves of cabbage on top, then close but not tightly so they can air out.
- Put in a warm place for 5 to 14 days.
- When you close the lid on these for the first time you want to close them loosely so that they are vented. The process of fermentation produces carbon dioxide and the gas needs to be released, which is forced out along with some of the juice. So for the first 24 to 48 hours I keep them in a large pot or container in order to catch the juice from spilling in my cabinets.
- They you can store this in a warm cabinet or cooler at about 70 degrees for 5 to 14 days. After that you can refrigerate stopping further fermentation and bitter taste; OR leave them out as long as you like to ferment further, which is what I do but with more bacteria, the taste becomes stronger.
Here are two sites to buy the vegetables if you don’t want to make them yourself:
- This book discusses creative ways to add fermented vegetables to many different meals: