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Fermenting Vegetables for Your Health


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#1 juli77

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 01:43 PM

I've been fermenting vegetables for about 3 years now, mostly for the health benefits (building up good gut flora) but also because it's delicious! Has anyone else done it? If so, please share your experiences and/or pictures.

 

You can buy fermented food of course (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.) but the plus to making your own is you know it has live bacteria in it. Often with purchased fermented food, it's been pasteurized or heated to avoid the jars exploding during shipping.

 

I've made several different vegetables over the years. Cabbage is still my favourite, but hot peppers is a close second. They're great on homemade pizza (put on after the pizza is cooked to preserve the probiotics). I've also made traditional kimchi. It's more work so I haven't done it in a while. I'll have to make some soon.

 

Today I started green and red cabbage with a bit of carrot, and a separate jar of carrots. Since I use low salt, I like to put in some fresh herbs in, so that's dill in with the carrots. I didn't put anything extra in the cabbage, but I usually put in a hot pepper. I didn't have any this time so I left it out. Garlic cloves are another good thing to put in.

 

I usually top up the jars (to keep the contents below the water level) with cabbage leaves or in the summer I use horseradish leaves because I have tons of it in the garden. I didn't have either today so I used baby jars on the top to weigh it all down. I usually use 2 litre (quart) jars, but today I used 1 litre for each.

 

Sg4f3l.jpg

 

 

These are pictures from older ferments I've done. I prefer fermenting each vegetable separately as some are softer than others so ferment at different speeds, but I make some combinations occasionally. One of my favourite combos is striped red and white beets, striped yellow beets, kohlrabi and zucchini. Here's a pic of some I made a while back.

 

Ii4MTl.jpg

 

 

hot red peppers and dill cukes

 

M0uVhJ.jpg

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

If you're still awake and care for more information, you can read on. Here's some of what I've gleaned from my experiences and from information I've picked up:

 

I bought a kit of lids with airlocks, made specifically for fermenting vegetables, after trying out different methods. They let the gases out without letting air in, so there's no chance of mold forming. These work best for me, I'd probably forget to burp the jars and have a huge mess on my hands when they explode. lol But you can use regular jars and just burp them (open them occasionally to let the air escape) or use crocks. The trick is to keep the contents under the liquid which prevents mold from forming.

 

I highly recommend the airlocks. I tried a couple, skeptical about the claims, but after seeing the results, I have to support them. You don't get the scum on top, it greatly lessens the smell, and you can ferment it longer. I put mine in the cold room for a slower ferment. And you can put them in the jars and forget about them until it's time to take them off the shelf.

 

Fermented vegetables can be ready after only a few days, in a warmer room, but I like the slower ferments better. Apparently slower (colder) and longer fermenting breeds more good bacteria. I've been fermenting mine 4 to 6 weeks, even up to 8 in the cold room. The vegetables stay a lot crisper too. I bought the lids with the airlocks, but if you're handy, you can drill a hole in your lid, put in a gasket and just buy the airlock (pretty cheap) to put into the lid.

 

You don't have to sterilize the jars as some people's videos will advise. They confuse fermenting with canning or preserves, that's when you have to sterilize. With fermenting, once the good bacteria get going, they will kill any bad bacteria.

 

I'm on a low-sodium regimen (high blood pressure, and I don't want to take medication), so I use a lot less salt than most recipes advise. Instead of a few tablespoons, I use 1 teaspoon per litre of water, but I also add 1/4 cup of previous liquid, from the last batch, to each 1 litre jar (1/2 cup to a 2L jar). The liquid serves as a starter to get the fermenting going faster to get those good bacteria doing their work and killing any bad bacteria.

 

If the contents bubble into the airlock (you may also see that in videos, touting that it means it's doing its job) that's not a good thing. It means you overfilled the jar and the gases are having trouble escaping, finally bursting through. That's why they advise to leave an inch or so of headspace. You shouldn't have to put anything under your jars to catch runoff. They don't run with the airlocks (if not overfilled).



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#2 Bill1968

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 03:12 PM

I'm hoping to start some ferments soon.  I found a jar of carrots and cauliflower in the back of the fridge, that I started at least a year ago(if not 2, lol).  They are still edible, but not tasty or very crisp now.  I was surprised to see fermenting activity still going on.

https://ibb.co/d27mHR

https://ibb.co/dDpNrm

It looks as if the liquid is loaded with salt, but that is just loads of bacteria from fermenting for so long.  I hope to have some pics of kimchi(my favorite) to post.


Edited by Bill1968, 09 January 2018 - 03:14 PM.


#3 juli77

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 08:05 PM

Nice to know they last that long! All those healthy probiotics still bubbling away. Thanks for posting that.

 

I pulled out my old notes of how I made kimchi the first time a couple of years ago. Reviewing the (many) steps, I see why I haven't made any recently (I did make it a couple of times since then). Maybe this will inspire me (and others) to make more.

 

2 Napa cabbages. I chopped them into bite size pieces.

 

wIjOf0.jpg

 

1/4 cup salt mixed into the cabbage, massaged in every 20 minutes, 3 times, then rinsed thoroughly

 

m4lqbU.jpg

 

Daikon radish and carrots chopped

 

jgxtbe.jpg

 

green onions, chopped

 

KGZXWT.jpg

 

green apple

 

kyCd0t.jpg

 

Korean chili paste. I mixed the flakes with freshly minced ginger and garlic, and a bit of water.

 

89CVi3.jpg

 

Ready to smoosh it all together (with gloves on!)

 

5uSrlj.jpg

 

And mixed in.

 

tCBZ05.jpg

 

Packed into the jars and ready to ferment

 

5460DG.jpg

 

with my shmancy pancy lids on

 

8qlHsM.jpg

 

 

Just a note: I had packed them too full that time and the contents bubbled into the airlocks, so I'd suggest leaving more head space.

 

 



#4 Bill1968

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 07:16 PM

I love kimchi!  I' going to make some similar to yours tomorrow Juli.  I made an attempt at a traditional Korean recipe the other day.   This is my first attempt at a traditional method(I think). 

 

I kinda combined steps and ideas from a few different recipes, but I used the info from this site the most:

https://www.koreanbapsang.com/2012/01/baechu-kimchi-napa-cabbage-kimchi.html

 

I didn't use any fish or any other meat, but I did use fish sauce.  I also used small red radishes instead of Korean ones.  Oh, and I didn't make it in bulk in my bathtub(like the kinchi-ers at a couple of sites). 

JC0ObD7.png



#5 juli77

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 10:08 PM

Oh, and I didn't make it in bulk in my bathtub(like the kinchi-ers at a couple of sites).

A shame, I'd like to have seen a shot of that. :-p

Yours looks really good. Not chopping up the cabbage, I haven't seen it made that way before. Interesting about leaving it in the fridge for a couple of weeks for the flavours to meld. I ferment mine longer on the shelf, and I don't eat much at a time so it stays in the fridge for a long time and gets that treatment anyway, unintentionally. It does taste better towards the end.

#6 georgehenry

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 02:51 AM

How does the ingested bacteria survive the acid in the stomach?



#7 juli77

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 07:51 AM

How does the ingested bacteria survive the acid in the stomach?

A lot of the bacteria die of course, but some do make it. Bacteria reproduce very quickly so even if only some survive, they populate the intestines. There is more extensive scientific information out there.
 
Here’s a cute little video with the gist of it. 
 

 

 



#8 Bill1968

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 10:29 AM

Yours looks really good. Not chopping up the cabbage, I haven't seen it made that way before. Interesting about leaving it in the fridge for a couple of weeks for the flavours to meld. I ferment mine longer on the shelf, and I don't eat much at a time so it stays in the fridge for a long time and gets that treatment anyway, unintentionally. It does taste better towards the end.

I didn't realize that in some traditional methods the cabbage is chopped. I thought your kimchi was made using some of the quick methods that I have seen. Our methods seem to be nearly the same except one is chopped, and the other isn't.

Interesting about leaving it in the fridge for a couple of weeks for the flavours to meld. I ferment mine longer on the shelf, and I don't eat much at a time so it stays in the fridge for a long time and gets that treatment anyway, unintentionally. It does taste better towards the end.

I might leave mine out a little longer before putting in the fridge actually. It's supposed to be warmer than normal winter temperature here this week, so I won't leave it out more than 5 or 6 days. I like it sour, and I'll eat it even at very high levels of sourness, but it's better tasting if it's not extreme.

#9 Bill1968

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:12 AM

How does the ingested bacteria survive the acid in the stomach?

Juli77 is right about some bacteria surviving, and some not surviving. Most people think that all acids dissolve all things. The reaction between an acid and any substance depends on the chemical makeup of the substance. Hydroflouric acid reacts with glass and many ceramics, metals, etc..., however it used to be stored in glass containers lined with wax! I think it is stored in special plastic containers now(maybe even Teflon - I'll have to check). Lactobacteria have definitely adapted to survive acid conditions:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1151822/#__sec19title

Lucky for us!


Edited by Bill1968, 21 January 2018 - 11:13 AM.


#10 georgehenry

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 05:18 AM

  Commensal bacteria (normal microflora), mucosal immunity and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

 

This is an article that you may like.



#11 Guest_Joe C_*

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 09:25 AM

sounds interesting


Edited by Joe C, 22 January 2018 - 09:26 AM.


#12 juli77

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:03 PM

I started more cabbage fermenting today. I made four 2-litre jars. I also bought Chioggia beets (red and white striped beets) and golden beets which I'll slice up and ferment tomorrow. Maybe with cauliflower and zucchini. I usually use starter from a previous batch, since I use a lot less salt than normally advised, but I thought I'd try a culture starter this time. I figure it would give me a variety of strains, maybe some new ones.

I also bought a new type of lid on the market. I usually use airlocks, but these don't use the water tubes, they're engineered so the Co2 still pushes out and no air gets in, but they're flat so take up less space and they have a nice tab on the rim to help open the lids after the ferments are done. The kit also comes with a pump to suck out the air. You don't use the tube at the beginning, since the strong gasses at the beginning will push out the air, but it comes in handy if you want to check a jar mid-way and have to reseal it. Usually the gasses aren't strong enough at that point to push out the air so the oxygen gets trapped and there's more chance of mold forming. With the pump you can pull out the air at that point.

This is the first time using these lids so I only put them on two jars and I'll compare the results to my other airlock lids. Hopefully the new ones work as well as the old ones.

LxKCuK.jpg

They also have numbers on the dial so you can set it to the date you started the ferment. I usually use a china pencil on the other lids but no need to scrub it off after with the new lids.

7spAL4.jpg


And I took a jar of cabbage and the carrots off the shelf today (3-week ferment). They're delicious! I prefer fermenting them 6-8 weeks but I want to get started eating some already! I left the other jar of cabbage to go a little longer.

 

83RnxZ.jpg
 

 

And.... I'm making kefir for the first time! I love kefir, but it's so expensive to buy and you get far more probiotics in ferments you make yourself. So I ordered live kefir grains (I was able to find some in Canada, they were shipped quickly and they arrived looking good today). I'll report back as to how they did.

r5V3Gd.jpg

 



#13 juli77

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 05:33 PM

I finished my second batch of ferments today. Another 2 jars (2-litre) of mixed vegetables. Chioggia beets, golden beets, zucchini and cauliflower. I'm set for a while now. And I tried my first batch of kefir today. Yum! So much better than store bought. And a lot more kefir grains grew in this batch. I started a second batch today. I'm going to need some good recipes to use up all the kefir or I'll have it coming out my ears! I'll have to learn how to dry kefir grains. I think there's a freezing process too.

 

OtQ1Ch.jpg

 

 

 

 



#14 juli77

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 05:38 PM

Oops, wrong thread.


Edited by juli77, 26 January 2018 - 05:38 PM.


#15 SuperSapien64

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 09:20 PM

Well I know if I were fermented vegetables during my teens I would've likely never came down with chron's when I entered high school.






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