Fermentation makes vegetables so valuable to our health
Why should we consider homemade fermentation, eat fermented foods and bother to pickle vegetables in lactic acid?
The intestinal flora consists of many different microorganisms. If the intestinal flora and the intestine are healthy, then these microorganisms work harmoniously with one another and in interaction with the intestinal mucosa.
For example, some microorganisms feed on fiber that is indigestible for us (dietary fiber) and use it to produce fatty acids that our intestinal flora serve as nourishment. The microorganisms in the intestine can also produce other vital substances such as various B vitamins.
Since approximately 3/4 of the immune system is located in the intestinal area, a healthy intestine is essential for a healthy life. Even the famous doctor Hippocrates in ancient Greece is said to have said:
“The healthy intestine is the root of all health”.
Today’s research around the intestine confirms this again and again. When the intestinal flora and intestines are weakened, innumerable diseases can arise.
The intestinal flora is exposed to many stress factors these days.
– Chronic stress
– Environmental toxins
– Preservatives & Other Additives
– Plenty of animal protein
– Lots of sweets
– Highly processed low fiber foods.
Some microorganisms are very sensitive to these influences. This depletes the variety of microorganisms in the intestine and unwanted microorganisms can take up the space that has become free. At some point the complex interplay in the intestine no longer works properly and ultimately gets completely out of balance.
As a result, various diseases can develop that do not necessarily have to make themselves felt in the intestine. For example, allergies, autoimmune diseases and even ADHD and depression are associated with a disturbed intestinal flora.
Who can say that they are not exposed to any of the stressful factors?
A good reason to do something for the intestines and their many small inhabitants. Of course, it is important to eat in such a way that the desired microorganisms in the intestine receive plenty of food and can thrive.
The more natural that what arrives in the intestine, the more natural and robust the intestinal flora can be. Everything we swallow reaches the microorganisms in the intestine and is absorbed by them.
A diet with as many natural foods as possible, such as whole foods rich in vital substances, is, therefore, an excellent opportunity to do something good for the intestine and to ensure automatic intestinal rehabilitation.
In addition, lactic acid pickled vegetables are an excellent choice in order to suppress unwanted microorganisms and bring desired microorganisms back into the intestine on a large scale. This is bursting with microorganisms that promote a healthy intestinal flora.
Don’t make it complicated – use a mason jar with a flat ring lid
For fermentation, prepared vegetables can simply be poured into a sturdy jar and the lid tightly closed. However, this has the disadvantage that fermentation liquid can escape due to the excess pressure, especially if the glass is too full.
The glasses should always be in a bowl or on a plate. Regular lids do not cope with the resulting overpressure in the long term and have to be replaced at some point. Here’s where the flat ring lids come in handy. Screw them on tightly, and you will find the clickable “bubble” on top.
Press it down every day. This helps to relief some of the extra air, and it will show you when the fermentation process is done. Whenever your fermented sauerkraut, or other vegetable of your choice, is ready, the “bubble” will have disappeared and remain airtight on the jar until you open it.
For regular “screw on lids” it is advisable to briefly open the lid every day so that the overpressure is released. Of course, you have to think about that regularly.
Or if you don’t feel comfortable enough, you can use fermentation equipment that consists of 3 parts:
- a sturdy glass (mason jar) that fits almost 1 liter
- a so-called reCAP lid that is screwed onto the glass
- a reCAP valve attachment, which is simply inserted into the pouring opening of the lid.
As I mentioned above, however: a glass jar with a “flat ring lid”, or even a regular glass jar, is absolutely fine. Those two types I always used and never had any problems so far.
Fermenting the vegetables in lactic acid
So enough of the preface. Now let’s see how to pickle vegetables in lactic acid? It’s so easy!
If you have a suitable, clean vessel for fermenting, all you really need is:
- a bunch of vegetables (harder vegetables such as white cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, beetroot are best)
- a few spices and / or herbs to taste such as mustard seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, garlic, fresh chilli pepper, ginger, basil leaves, dill
- (unrefined) rock or sea salt
- some water.
The salt ensures that undesirable microorganisms can hardly multiply. As soon as lactic acid bacteria have multiplied vigorously, they preserve the fermenting vegetables and prevent undesirable microorganisms from settling.
I cannot recommend normal table salt for this, as the added substances such as fluorine and iodine in the salt have a negative effect on the microorganisms and can disrupt the fermentation process.
Note: You can mix and match, cut the vegetables into small pieces, dice or grate them – all variations and shapes are allowed.
Sauerkraut basic recipe with many variations
Cabbage is usually cheap and in large quantities, so we stick to a simple sauerkraut recipe in our fermentation experiment. You can, however, supplement the basic recipe with various vegetables depending on your mood and taste.
Fermented vegetables basic recipe: sauerkraut with carrot
1 liter glass
- 400 g white cabbage
- 200 g carrot
- possibly some water
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries if you like. You can also add mustard seeds or caraway seeds.
- freshly grated ginger, chilli peppers
- Use approximately 12 g of sea salt, untreated salt (pink Himalayan salt).
- Separate a few clean, large cabbage leaves from the cabbage and keep them for later.
- Wash the cabbage and the carrot thoroughly and cut into fine strips, slice or grate.
- Peel the onion and cut into rings.
- Peel and quarter the garlic.
- Mix the prepared ingredients together with the mustard seeds and salt in a large bowl and knead or mash with your hands for a few minutes so that liquid can escape from the vegetables.
- Gradually add the vegetables to the jar to ferment.
- Press everything together as tightly as possible so that there are no air gaps. (I use a wooden potato masher or a cooking spoon.)
- Fill up to about 2 inches (5 cm) below the edge of the glass.
- If necessary, add enough water to completely cover the vegetables.
- Then lay the retained cabbage leaf flat on the compressed vegetables.
- Crumple up the remaining cabbage leaves and stuff them into the glass until the salty brine is about 0.4 to 0.8 inches (1 – 2 cm) below the edge.
- The cabbage leaves will certainly stay under the brine if you clamp a stalk of cabbage or a piece of carrot between the lid and the cabbage leaf. (As an alternative to the cabbage leaves, put an appropriate weight on the vegetables.)
- Screw the lid tightly onto the jar and store the jar for about 7 days at room temperature.
- If the lid does not have a valve, open it briefly every day so that any gases can escape.
- After 7 days, the active phase with a lot of gas development is over and the microorganism culture in the glass has stabilized.
The cover then does not need to be opened any further for venting. If you like, you can already eat the lactic acid vegetables. You can also store it for a few weeks or months, and more aromas will develop over time.
The vegetables, however, also get softer over time. Regardless of whether you already opened the jar or decide to store it for a while, make sure to keep it in a cool place after the first 7 days. Because in warm temperatures, a lot of acid quickly develops, and it inhibits the formation of the diverse aromas.
I hope you’ll have fun starting your own first fermentation experiment. It’s always best to begin simple and with one vegetable. Once it turns into a routine or you, you can work your way up to mix and match your favorite veggies. Stay happy, healthy and enjoy! Always know that you are unique and endlessly loved…🙏🏼💖💫.
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