Side Dishes

Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

Pickled vegetables?! Yes. If you haven’t made your own, it’s time. DO NOT FEAR. For those afraid of growing toxic mold and poisoning yourself and/or your family, go by this saying, “sink in brine, and all is fine!” Truly, it’s not hard, and the benefits are SO rewarding!! You will be able to have a healthy snack on hand that is not only tasty, but healing to your body and LOADED with nutrients and probiotics.

“Lacto” in lacto-fermentation refers to lactic acid. All fruits and vegetables have beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus on the surface. In an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, these bacteria convert sugars into lactic acid, which inhibits harmful bacteria and acts as a preservative. It’s also what gives fermented foods their characteristic sour flavor.

Ready to start?!

3 tablespoons sea salt, pickling salt, or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
1 quart water (see Recipe Notes)
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup carrot chunks or slices (if you use rainbow carrots, it will turn your whole brine bright fuchsia, so pretty)
1 cup green beans (trimmed) or more of above vegetables
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (or ground coriander)
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-2 grape leaves (optional, and I do not do), in above photo I used a cabbage leaf to keep veggies from floating, and put a smaller jar on top to hold it all down, as you can see, I made a bit too much brine, which is fine but not necessary.

Combine salt and water in a measuring cup and stir until the salt is dissolved.

Place the remaining ingredients in a very clean, large jar (a half-gallon mason jar works well). Pour the salt water over the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. If necessary, add more water to cover the vegetables. (Optionally, place a small bowl or jar on top of the vegetables to hold them under the brine.)

Cover the jar tightly and let it stand at room temperature. About once a day, open the jar to taste the pickles and release gases produced during fermentation. If any mold or scum has formed on the top, simply skim it off. (If using a jar fitted with an airlock, you don’t need to “burp” it; just open occasionally to taste.)

When pickles taste to your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. They will continue to ferment very slowly, but cold storage will largely halt fermentation. As a fermented food, these pickles will last for quite some time, at least a month or longer.

Recipe Notes

  • Salt: Use salt that is free of iodine and/or anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
  • Water: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can. It is also recommended to rinse the vegetables in un-chlorinated water rather than tap water.

Adapted from thekitchn http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-lactofermented-mixed-pickles-recipes-from-the-kitchn-194011

Happy fermenting!

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