Fermented vegetables. Image: Casanisa Shutterstock
The internet is full of guides on fermenting vegetables. We are talking about a simpler process than you imagine.
A glass jar full of fermented vegetables at your local grocery store will probably cost you between $10 and $15. The time and materials used in the process are no more than five minutes and two dollars, respectively, and we usually imagine that manufacturers have spent years learning from fermentation masters in some stone age town, or that they have mortgaged his home to pay for high-quality fermentation equipment to make sure the beans come out with a proper pickle flavor.
Nothing is further from reality. Is that how it works. This process can be applied to practically any vegetable or vegetable.
How to ferment vegetables.
Prepare the vegetables.
The finer the vegetables are chopped or shredded, the faster they ferment (and the more you can put in a jar). You can also ferment carrots, onions, radishes, beets, and even whole cabbage leaves. It is primarily a matter of personal preference and what you want to do with the finished product. Depending on the vegetable, wash and peel it as if you were going to eat it raw.
Salt prevents mold, while favoring beneficial bacteria, resulting in a fermented product with a crunchy texture. Fill the jars with the vegetables and cover them with a brine made from 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water (use natural, non-iodized salt and preferably good quality water). Add herbs and other seasonings to taste.
The key here is that the veggies stay submerged in the brine, as any that is left exposed to the air will rot. For the floating vegetables, find a way to add weight so that they are all submerged.
Let it ferment.
If you are using a glass jar, tighten the lid until it is snug, but not fully. This will prevent oxygen from entering, but allow carbon dioxide to escape; otherwise the pressure can build until an explosion occurs (specific fermentation vessels usually have a water seal for this purpose). Store it in a cool, dark place, ideally where the temperature stays between 18 and 21 ºC.
How to ferment vegetables. Image: Bitt24 Shutterstock
Fermentation times vary from three days to three months or more, depending on the vegetable, temperature, and other factors. The only true guide to knowing when it is ready is taste, each person is different. Once the flavor you like is reached, put the jar in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.