I have introduced quite a bit of lacto-fermented vegetables and other fermented foods into my family’s diet (and some lucky friends) who have embraced new healthy foods for the past few years.
Fermented vegetables contain probiotics that contain all kinds of friendly bacteria that help us maintain a healthy gut and overall health.
Lacto-fermented vegetables and I had a love/hate relationship before I got my research hat on.
I disliked fermented anything growing up, then only loved some fermented vegetables in my late teens, but then I tried fermented vegetables from the big jar (ya know the ones you buy at Costco) and I fell in love.
Once I started learning about gut health, and how beneficial fermented foods are for overall health I wanted to know more but wanted to make them without preservatives and top-notch ingredients.
This recipe was created in an effort to add more fermented foods to my family’s diet. I wanted to be easy to make, delicious and nutritionally dense. Being that my family already (especially my son) loves Lacto-fermented Jurassic carrots (simply Lacto-fermented carrots) I figured this would be a winner too.
Lacto Fermented Vegetables And Dairy
Contrary to popular belief, lacto-fermented vegetables do not necessarily contain milk.
To eliminate the most common misconception regarding lacto-fermentation, you need to know that it most certainly has nothing to do with dairy. Alternatively, lacto refers to lactic acid.
All vegetables and fruits have probiotics which can include Lactobacillus on the surface. When you allow these healthy bacteria within an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment, each of these microorganisms converts sugars into lactic acid, which typically halts unsafe bacteria from developing and works like a preservative.
It will likely be what provides fermented foods with their characteristic sour aroma and taste.
Now, I love all types of natural probiotic foods such as Kefir, Kefir butter or cream cheese, and everything that has probiotics in it. What I sometimes do is add a few teaspoons of kefir whey which introduces different types of bacteria and, of course, a tangier flavor.
Some fermenting veterans don’t like to use whey and some others do. So it comes down to what you like and what you are in the mood at the time.
We eat these super delicious vegetables as a side dish, add to grass-fed hot dogs or I eat them as a snack when I need to eat something quick.
If you’ve been looking to make Lacto-fermented anything, this is a quick and easy option.
How To Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables
What you’ll be making: A carrot,cabbage, fennel, radish based lacto-fermented vegetable kraut that is easy to make, it actually does NOT contain dairy, and can be consumed as a side dish or snack. (Kids friendly).
Chop or shred vegetables to you liking
Placing vegetables in the jar. Make sure you push them down with your fist or a spatula (try not to use metal). Continue to add your veggies, and pushing them down as you go. Until you fill them about 2 inches away from the top (leave room for the weigh)
How To Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables
- 3 tablespoons himalayan salt (pickling salt, or kosher salt)
- 1 quart water
- 2 cups cabbage shredded
- 1 cup carrot shredded
- 1/2 cup radish shredded
- 1/2 cup fennel shredded
- 1/2- 1 gallon fermenting glass jar
- Combine water and salt and stir until the salt is dissolved.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a clean, large fermenting jar.
- Pour the salt water over the shredded vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Add more brine to the vegetables if necessary. (You may want to place the heart of the fennel or the center of the cabbage a 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. Since you’ll be using jar fitted with an airlock, you don’t need to burp it– just open occasionally to taste. However, if not using an airlock jar check the jar once a day to taste the veggies and release gases produced during fermentation. If any mold or scum has formed on the top, simply skim it off.
- Let bacteria do its thing, taste them, and when they are to your liking (I like to leave them for about 4-6 days) in the fridge they go.
- They’ll slowly continue to ferment, but know that cold storage will largely stop the fermentation process. These veggies will last for about a month or so.
As I mentioned before, it is very important to populate your body with friendly bacteria in order to keep candida and other critters away.
Question: Are you into fermented foods yet or still debating whether to make them or not? Do you already eat fermented foods, I’d love for you to share your favorite foods in the comments below.