6 Simple Steps to Make Fermented Vegetables

Fermented vegetables are very popular these days for their health benefits. This is due to the benefits of probiotics that can be loaded into your body through the fermentation of vegetables1.

Probiotic bacteria2 are very effective in maintaining your gut health. Many people are suffering from gut problems that may be controlled by using fermented vegetables.

It will also help in faster digestion. People suffering from digestive disorders3 may suffer from obesity, gas problems, and eating disorders. Now it’s not a herculean task to make fermented vegetables at home using simple tools.

While fermenting vegetables, you are adding some good bacteria and enzymes that will help your body. This article will provide you with some amazing ways to make fermented vegetables without any struggles!

Fermenting carrots
Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr

While starting to ferment your vegetables, you may start the process with Lacto fermentation. Lacto fermentation4 is very effective in increasing the nutritional value of vegetables.

This process is preserving your food. Studies showed that while doing Lacto fermentation, you are increasing the quality of your vegetables.

During the process of Lacto fermentation, the vitamin and enzyme content increases in the vegetables, and ultimately they are going to benefit your overall health.

Before getting started with the process of fermentation, make sure you have all the equipment required for the process.

Equipment required-  A glass mason jar or a dedicated fermenting crock. In case you don’t have any of them, you may use a clean jar.

1. Choose Your Vegetables

While preparing fermented vegetables, you must ensure that the vegetables you are choosing for fermentation are right for the job.

Some vegetables are best suited for fermentation. For example, beetroot, carrots, cauliflower, chili, celery, cucumber, capsicum, baby eggplant, and green tomatoes can be fermented for the best results.

2. Prepare Your Vegetables

Before fermenting your vegetables, you need to prepare them. You may do this in any of the four ways:

2.1 Chop-

You may chop your vegetables before fermenting. This chopping method is more convenient for any vegetables that you want to size or shape according to your need.

2.2 Grate –

The grating can be done to make the vegetables more uniform, as a grater slices the vegetables more precisely than you could on your own. Grating is preferable for hard vegetables. Normally grating can be done to vegetables that are difficult to chop or cut.

Also, the texture of the grated vegetables will be impressive. For example, you may try grating zucchini for a fun snack.

2.3 Use it Whole-

Many vegetables can be fermented whole, and no preparation is needed. For example, green beans can be fermented by putting them directly into a jar.

2.4 Slice –

You may try making slices of vegetables to make them thin. This is normally done to vegetables to make them more convenient for preservation.

While choosing your vegetables for the fermentation process, you should not include vegetables that are rich in chlorophyll. For example, spinach which contains a lot of chlorophyll may not be a good choice for fermented vegetables.

3. How to Ferment Vegetables

Now while preparing fermented vegetables one needs to follow five steps. These five steps include:

3.1 Choose Your Vegetables

Before jumping into any fermentation process, you must choose the vegetables. Also, you must check that the vegetables are not rich in chlorophyll.

You must ensure that the vegetables can be chopped, sliced, grated, or used as is. Also, don’t forget to get your jar or dedicated fermentation crock in which your vegetables will ferment.

Photo by Rick Ligthelm on flickr

3.2 Prepare Your Vegetables for Fermentation

After choosing suitable vegetables, the next thing you have to do is to shape your vegetables in the texture you like best. You may use any method such as chopping, grating, or slicing to shape up your vegetables as per requirements.

Also, make sure you shape your vegetables as per the category of the vegetables because fermentation happens in a better way if the vegetables are shaped according to your needs. For example, if you use cucumber or beans whole, then it will enhance the taste.

3.3 Add Salt to the Vegetables

After you are done with cutting and shaping the vegetables, you must add good quality and suitable salt to them. Also makes sure that you add the salt that will work pretty well for Lacto-fermentation.

Adding sea salt would be the most favorable option in the case of Lacto fermentation. You may also use whey and starter culture in the initial stage, but both of them are completely optional.

You may skip using them while preparing the fermented vegetables. Just using salt will not bring any changes to your fermented vegetables. However, you absolutely must not use salted water on the vegetables, as this could interfere with the brine.

3.4 Preparation of Brine

This is the most important step while making fermented vegetables. You need to prepare an adequate amount of brine to ferment your vegetables completely. The brine quantity must be enough to submerge the vegetables for the fermentation process. Many studies showed that using 2 percent of brine would give you some of the best results.

The main intention while preparing brine must be to use water that is free from chlorine, chloramine, and fluorides. This is because fluorides and chlorides may not support the fermentation effects and they might prevent the growth of bacteria.

Ensure you use filtered water that will support the effects of fermented vegetables.

Fermented cucumbers
Photo by brenkee on pixabay

3.5 Submerge the Vegetables in the Brine

Once you are done with all the initial preparation, the next important step is to submerge vegetables in the brine. This will make the best-fermented vegetables. All you need is to choose your fermenting vessel, then settle your vegetables in the brine.

Read more about vegan calcium sources

3.6 Choose an Anaerobic Environment

After you submerge your vegetables, then the next step is to keep them in a living environment. Living or anaerobic environment means an oxygen-free environment. As the oxygen passing may disturb the preparation of fermented vegetables.

After this, you may let the vessel rest at room temperature for a while before taking it to the fridge. Make sure you keep that vessel for 3 days before shifting it to the fridge.

After three days, you may taste your vegetables and check if they are according to your expectation.

Then you may shift it to the fridge. Normally they might become a little acidic after 3 days of fermentation. After the product is ready you may keep it in the fridge for months.

4. Benefits of Fermented Vegetables

Lacto fermentation is simply a mixture of vegetables with salt and brine. This will offer various health benefits to your body. The best part about these fermented veggies is the presence of probiotic bacteria in them.

Fermented food will provide your body with a good amount of vitamins and enzymes that will help your body in various ways. Lacto-fermented vegetables are very effective in improving your gut health5. It will work amazingly for your digestive tract.

Also one must note that the probiotic-rich vegetables in the jar are amazing for the immune system.

Most people fall ill due to weak immunity. Fermented vegetables may help in this as they have beneficial bacteria that will help your physical health.

5. Most Nutritious Fermented Foods

5.1 Tempeh

Tempeh is one of the most nutritious fermented foods that can help your gut health. Studies show that it may also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Tempeh may be suitable for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians (especially meat lovers). This can go perfectly with sandwiches.

5.2 Kombucha

Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is generally made from black or green tea. Kombucha is great for your liver health. It will also be effective in treating the damages caused by harmful chemicals.

Kombucha may offer various health benefits to the human body.

Read more about the benefits of kombucha

5.3 Kimchi

Kimchi is one of the best-fermented foods that go well with various dishes. A study showed that fermenting kimchi for 8 days or more will help in controlling body weight.

It may also help in balancing hypertension6, and similar illnesses. Kimchi can be a great companion for a bowl of noodles.

Read more about ginger shots benefits

5.4 Natto

Natto is a food from traditional Japanese cuisine. These are normally fermented soybeans with a very strong flavor. It contains vitamin K and is also beneficial for your bone health. Natto may help with constipation as well.

Photo by Taku on Flickr

6. Fermented Vegetables

Adding fermented foods will enhance your diet by making your food healthier and tastier. You may even try these easy fermented vegetable recipes that will increase the shelf life of the vegetables. Not to mention, it can also help in increasing your life span by keeping you healthy for longer. So, go ahead and try these recipes today!

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7. FAQs

7.1 How Do I Determine Whether My Fermented Vegetables Are Healthy to Consume?

Your fermented vegetables are probably okay to consume if they taste and smell sour and tangy. They should be thrown away, though, if they taste or smell bad or exhibit mold growth. When producing fermented veggies, it’s critical to follow good cleanliness and food safety procedures.

7.2 How Should I Preserve Fermented Vegetables?

Once your fermented vegetables are prepared, you may put them in a fresh, sealed container and keep them in the refrigerator, where they will continue to ferment gradually. Although the shelf life of fermented vegetables might vary, the majority will remain fresh for a few weeks to many months.

7.3 How Long Do Vegetables Take to Ferment?

The amount of salt used, the type of vegetable, the temperature, and other variables can all affect how long it takes to ferment vegetables. Most veggies will ferment in 3 to 7 days on average, however, some may take longer.

  1. Montet, Didier, Ramesh C. Ray, and Nadine Zakhia-Rozis. “Lactic acid fermentation of vegetables and fruits.” Microorganisms and fermentation of traditional foods (2014): 108-140. ↩︎
  2. Saarela, Maria, et al. “Probiotic bacteria: safety, functional and technological properties.” Journal of biotechnology 84.3 (2000): 197-215. ↩︎
  3. Harcourt-Brown, Frances. “Digestive disorders.” Textbook of rabbit medicine (2002): 249. ↩︎
  4. Ricci, Annalisa, et al. “Vegetable by-product lacto-fermentation as a new source of antimicrobial compounds.” Microorganisms 7.12 (2019): 607. ↩︎
  5. Choct, Mingan. “Managing gut health through nutrition.” British poultry science 50.1 (2009): 9-15. ↩︎
  6. Esteve-Pastor, María Asunción, José Miguel Rivera-Caravaca, and Gregory YH Lip. “Hypertension and atrial fibrillation: balancing stroke and bleeding risks.” American Journal of Hypertension 30.11 (2017): 1063-1065. ↩︎

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