July 6, 2015

326 Fermenting Vegetables [6 July 2015]

As a young child I remember my mother making sauerkraut in a 5 gallon crock in a corner of the kitchen. She probably did so as a way to preserve cabbage for winter use, not realizing the health benefits from the bacteria used in the fermentation process.

I recently found a recipe online for fermenting not just cabbage but many other vegetables. And a special starter culture with bacterial species that produce vitamin K2 – an essential vitamin for preventing (and reversing!) both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Why make and eat fermented vegetables? They’re loaded with probiotics – the good bacteria of which we are only now beginning to learn all the benefits. One small serving of fermented vegetables contains more good bacteria (about 10 trillion) than an entire bottle of high potency probiotics (and for a fraction of the price!). The vitamin K2 content (approx 500mcg per serving) is an added benefit. So one serving of this food can replace two expensive yet essential supplements.

There are four basic steps to producing your own fermented vegetables.
1. Select, clean, and shred the vegetables: cabbage, carrots, sweet potato, yellow beets, apple, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, ginger root and garlic.
2. Juice celery to make the “brine” (salt is optional). Use 1 part juice to 10 parts vegetables. Stir in a small amount of the starter culture to the celery juice. Pour the brine/starter solution over the shredded vegetables and mix well.
3. Pack the mixture into glass jars (avoid plastic and metal containers) and tamp firmly to remove any air pockets. The brine should cover the vegetables. Top with a piece of cabbage leaf. Screw lid on loosely, allowing gases to escape.
4. Allow the jars to sit for 4 days to a week at room temperature. When ready, refrigerate but don’t freeze. It will keep for several months.

Introduce the vegetables gradually into your diet, working up to ¼ to ½ cup servings as your digestive system tolerates it. It has the feel and consistency of coleslaw and, I expect, should taste somewhat like sauerkraut.

I have ordered some of the K2 starter culture and we will try our hand at making fermented vegetables over the summer. I’ll let you know next fall how it turns out. Anyone care to join us on this adventure? A jar of starter culture goes a long way.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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