Fermented foods first came across my radar about a decade ago, at the time they were more of a novelty item but have since become very popular and are well represented in grocery stores. This is definitely not a new way to prepare and eat food, it has simply been missing from the modern diet for awhile. The overall health of our stomachs will no doubt benefit from its return. Its very likely that our sterile diet due to widespread pasteurization of our food has contributed to gut flora imbalances. The stomach is colonized by bacteria, but eliminating all bacteria from the diet including the (Lactobacillus) beneficial bacteria leaves the door open for any bacteria to move in and occupy this space. Fermented food products are fairly expensive in stores but are really easy and cheap to make at home. This is my simple fermented vegetable recipe, and its easier to make than saying Purple Pickled Probiotic 3 times. I like to use purple vegetables because they are loaded with vitamins A, C, E, B-6, antioxidants, including lycopene, beta carotene, the purple vegetable super antioxidant anthocyanins, and much, much more. Good stuff for cold and flu season. I plant Dragon carrots at the end of summer and they are ready to harvest in the winter. In the spring and summer Purple Haze carrots occupy my garden. Obviously any color or variety of these vegetables will work but the red and purple can’t be beat. I purchased two 1 liter (Le Parfait) style canning jars. I like to use these for this recipe because the flip top lids make it easy to burp the lids when checking on the fermentation. I have two of these jars and I just rotate them every week. This is a good recipe to make in the fall and winter as the fermentation works best at or below room temperature and the summer tends to be too warm to get consistent results.
1 small head red cabbage
1 red beet
3 purple carrots
3 garlic cloves
sea salt (or other non-iodized salt)
1 liter Le Parfait or other canning jar
Wash vegetables, clean jars and utensils. Chop head of cabbage into 4 sections, remove core stem section. Next chop the cabbage in whatever way works for you, A kitchen knife, box grater, mandoline, or food processor will work. It really helps the recipe to get the cabbage sliced thin. Peel and chop beet and carrot into small cube sized pieces. Mince Garlic cloves. Add cabbage to salad bowl and sprinkle 2 tbsp of salt on top. Work the cabbage like you would knead dough. Its important to spend several minutes really kneading and squeezing to break down the cabbage and allow it to release its juices. I have found that the thinner the cabbage is sliced the easier it is to render its juices. Mix in the rest of veggies and let sit for 30 minutes. Next, pack the vegetables into a clean canning jar. Use the back of a spoon to really pack the mix down to remove air pockets and allow the water level to come up. The liquid should cover the top of the vegetables. If it doesn’t quite make it add a little cold water. It is a good idea to have a 2nd small canning jar ready in case you need a little extra space. If you are not feeling sure about fermentation just put the jar directly into the fridge, its quite healthy already. Otherwise, close lid and store in a cool dark place at or below room temperature. Check the probiotic after 3-4 days by opening the lid to release pressure (burp lids). Make sure all vegetables are below the liquid surface, pick out any that are sticking up. Give it a taste, the probiotic should be slowly taking on a mild tangy sour taste. Check it again at 3-4 day intervals for up to 2 weeks. It can be refrigerated and eaten after just 3 days if reaches your desired taste, but 10-14 days will allow more probiotic activity to take place. When ready put jar in fridge at which point fermentation will stop and it will be ready to store and eat for months. The Purple Pickled Probiotic will retain its crunchy texture and take on a salty sour flavor, delicious! Once you get the hang of this process feel free to experiment with new combinations. There are numerous recipes and ingredients that have been fermented in this way.