How do we love thee, fermented veggies? Let us count the ways. From top-notch gut health to vitamins by the dozen, eating fermented foods is the healthy “secret” most of us don’t even know is right under our noses (saurkraut? pickles? kimchi? yep, all fermented). It’s surprisingly simple to culture your own veggies at home. It might seem intimidating at first, but our go-to girl for healthy DIYs, Lacy from Free + Native Journal, recently hosted a fermenting veggies workshop in DTLA and she’s ready to dish on everything you need to know to acquire this wellness kitchen skill easily. Get cultured in your own kitchen…
Fermented vegetables are the ultimate superfood – they’re superior to any other one single superfood out there. Why? Because you can take that other superfood and add it to your batch of fermented vegetables and its benefits and potency increases by the hundreds. It also creates gut-healing beneficial bacteria (probiotics), and once it has been fermented, it is now predigested so it becomes a helper digestive aid, as well as making it that much easier for your digestive tract to assimilate.
I teach private classes and workshops to clients and readers in order to empower them to create their very own targeted batch of fermented vegetables. What I mean by this is that I help them to create goal-specific batches that address their exact healing or health-supported goals.
Say a client struggles with hormone imbalance and acne. Then we’ll make sure to add liver/blood-cleansing beets, and vitex (chasteberries) to help support hormone balance. The probiotics proliferated during fermentation will be the extra punch needed to eliminate acne once the gut has reestablished proper amounts of beneficial bacteria and that outweighs the amounts of problematic bacteria (which is acne causing).
I recently hosted a fermented superfoods workshop at the stunning space Communal in downtown LA. The workshop was photographed by the ever-inspiring Brewing Happinesss. These are the short notes that each patron walked out with after creating their individual, specific batches that included superfoods, medicinal herbs, essential oils, seaweed and so much more.
Benefits of fermented veggies:
Re-establishes a healthy inner ecosystem, inexpensive source of medicinal probiotics daily, nourishes + helps to rebalances your thyroid, alkalizing, improves digestion, eliminates toxins, rejuvenates cells, strengthens immunity, controls sugar cravings + appetite, flattens tummy and tones body, increases vitamin count of the food immensely, enzyme rich, helps you to absorb more minerals and vitamins of the food it’s eaten with.
How to make fermented veggies
Ingredients & Tools:
large mixing bowl
wooden spoons, for mixing
food processor, for shredding (or simply chop into thin pieces)
32 oz jar, for canning
produce, herbs and spices of choice*
1/4 packet of Body Ecology Culture Starter
2 cups purified water (¼ cup for activating culture starter)
*I like to stick with 3-5 ingredients. The simpler recipes always taste the best. Choose specifically for your needs.
Wash produce well. Set aside three large outer leaves of each cabbage. Activate starter culture by adding warm (not boiling) water and a bit of sweetener into a small bowl. Shred or cut produce, herbs and spices. Empty each into large bowl. Pour culture over your bowl of sliced produce. Mix ingredients well to ensure they are all intermixed. Fill each glass jar with your shredded mixture. Pack tightly but not too tight so the brine (water) can seep through to the bottom. Fill to the top. Then fill jar with brine once you’ve packed the shredded matter into the jar.
Roll up one or two of the large cabbage leaves to top the shredded portion and brine with. Press this down hard making sure that the brine (liquid) is covering all the shredded matter to ensure no air is left in the shredded portion. Apply lid tightly.
Leave all jars in a warm area (70 degrees) for 3 to 7days. Place jars on bowls to catch any spillage. When you see little bubbles form at the top of your jar and smell their pungency, they are nicely fermented. Move to fridge and store in there for up to 8 months! Eat 2 tablespoons daily with lunch and dinner!
Doesn’t cabbage allow for natural fermentation? Do you need to use the culture if one of the main ingredients is cabbage?
I choose this particular culture starter over “wild fermentation” to ensure that zero candida bacteria will ferment in the batch. This makes for a very targeted medicinal bacteria called Lactobacillus Plantarum that is wonderful for fighting bad bacteria such as Candida.
what vegetables do you use? what tastes best? thanks!
I have tried ginger and turmeric added with cabbage. I have read many articles stating the benefits of turmeric however the challenge is it is not very bioavailable. Eating turmeric with fat and black pepper greatly enhances absorption, but I would guess fermenting would also be very helpful? What other superfoods would you recommend? I was thinking dandelion for a spring detox?