How to Lacto-Ferment Vegetables

Updated: Mar 9

-From the Desk of Anne Deni


Simple and effective ways to get the Gut Health Back on Track - why do we need to do this?


We know the microbiome is linked closely to the immune system and affects all major organs and body systems. . When our GI is functioning properly, it educates our immune system about friends and foes that we encounter and empowers it to fight against foreign invaders.


ENS (ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM) is often referred to as the second brain. It is the nervous tissue in the GI tract that coordinates all our digestion. The ENS has a profound effect on your mood and cognitive functioning. Gut dysbiosis and gastrointestinal problems can result in symptoms such as anxiety, stress, and depression.


The following 2 simple suggestions will help you feel better and function better.

1. Get on a good probiotic- I know there are sooooooooo many on the market but having a dad with Crohns disease for decades probiotics is an area that I spent a lot of time on and still do-I welcome you to give me a call and we can chat about recommendations.

2. Eat more fermented foods- such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, -I did not put down Kombucha -for a reason- give me a call and I will explain why, Traditional buttermilk (no the cultured buttermilk found in traditional supermarkets), natto, tempeh


I definitely like talking rather than typing so I encourage and welcome you to give me a call at the clinic if you have any questions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • sliced or chopped vegetables (anything will do, I really like broccoli, radishes and carrots)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt

  • 1 quart wide mouth mason jar

  • plastic lid (not necessary, but if you're going to do this often, the regular metal lids will corrode from the acid)

  • any spices or herbs you like (peppercorns, dill, basil, bay leaf, etc.)

  • 1 small cabbage leaf

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place vegetables and any spices/herbs you're using in the mason jar right up to the bottom of the neck, there should be about 1 inch of space to the top.

  2. Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.

  3. Pour the salt water over the vegetables until it reaches just below the top of the jar. There should be about 1/2 inch of room left.

  4. Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. This isn't necessary, but helps make sure the vegetables are submerged. Feel free to skip this step if you don't have cabbage on hand.

  5. Close the lid on the jar tightly and place the jars out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68-75 degrees).

  6. You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (in case it leaks/drips), gently loosen the lids to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.

  7. The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the more tangy they'll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or 6.

  8. Once you decide they're the level of sourness you're looking for, place the the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for a couple of months (not that they'll last that long!)

Lacto-fermentation is very safe if done properly. The fermented product should smell pleasantly sour but not putrid or foul and the vegetables should look crisp and clean, not moldy or rotten. If there is a rancid or off smell, it means that the fermentation wasn’t done properly and you should throw it out. Lacto-fermentation creates an environment where only lactobacillus bacteria can survive. Mold or other bacteria can come in and take over if you don’t have the right proportions of salt and water to create the proper brine where mold and other bacteria cannot survive. Never eat anything moldy.


-Anne Deni

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