Having a jar of cultured vegetables in your fridge is a must. They can last for over nine months in the fridge and can be very helpful if you have stomach distress of any kind be it food poisoning or stomach cramps. Just a spoonful of the juice works mightily and will calm your stomach down within a few minutes. You need a jar in your fridge to see how effective this can be. Powerful food that works like medicine when you need it the most. Let me show you how to make a jar. It's easy and fun!
The superstar bacteria in cultured vegetables is called Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum). It is extremely hardy, survives stomach acid with ease, and can make the full trip from your mouth – to your intestines – to your colon – to colonize you in a powerful way. L. plantarum is a welcome guest that works mightily for you by fiercely attacking pathogenic (bad) bacteria in your body. It will strengthen your good bacteria by killing the bad guys, and then it helps your own good bacteria grow stronger, and helps you to be more resistant to future invasions of pathogens. It's important to note that this is a transient bacteria which means it will only last a few days in the body so it's important to consume it often.
Let's Get Started
You first must choose the vessel you will use to ferment the vegetables. You can use a canning jar with a lid, a crock with a lid, a clamp-down jar that has a gasket, or my favorite is a jar with an airlock lid. Airlock jars create a low-oxygen or anaerobic, environment in which lactic-acid bacteria may thrive. It creates the best results with less chance of mold, but airlock jars are not absolutely necessary.
Decide Which Method to Use
You will then choose whether to use a starter culture or whether to ferment without one. You can certainly make them without a culture, but the good bacteria will stay at a higher level longer if you add a culture. This will also increase your own body’s ability to use and grow these good bacteria inside of you. The one that I believe does this the best is Cutting Edge Cultures.
The three fermenting methods are listed below.
1: Using A Starter Culture
Cutting Edge Cultures is my favorite starter culture. It ferments my veggies perfectly every time and gives me tons of probiotics. I actually helped design this product to give you more L. plantarum (super bacteria) than anything else on the market. That being said, you don’t have to buy my product to make cultured veggies. You can make cultured veggies with kefir whey, salt, or another brand of starter culture, but I’ve simply found that Cutting Edge Cultures works the best. I just want you to make really good cultured veggies so you can reap the many health benefits that they offer.
2: Without A Starter Culture
The method of using just salt to make cultured veggies has been around forever. Most methods using salt will ferment them for three to six weeks. I don’t recommend fermenting them for this long since it diminishes the probiotics as the bacteria run out of food and the acidifying bacteria turn to a more vinegar-type of brine over time. It’s important to use extra salt (three tablespoons per gallon of veggies) if you’re not using a culture. You need to drop the pH and without enough salt, you won’t achieve the safe and proper balance to allow them to ferment properly. The only veggie I recommend fermenting with salt is cabbage. Cabbage works very well, but other veggies don’t ferment properly and don’t have the proper pH so I recommend only doing cabbage recipes.
3: Using Kefir Whey
If you make a lot of kefir cheese and have extra whey, then you can use it to make cultured veggies. You need to make sure the kefir whey is freshly strained (within a day of straining) before using it. Otherwise, the culture won’t have the proper bacteria strains to culture your veggies properly. One of the reasons I don’t use kefir whey is that there are a lot of different bacteria in kefir that aren’t specific to cultured veggies. Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) is the primary one that you’re looking for in cultured veggies. The diverse bacteria and yeasts in kefir whey compete for dominance as to which one will rule. This makes L. plantarum diminish. Sometimes this can change the taste of the veggies over time. It just depends on what’s going on with the bacteria in your batch. Each batch has a mind of its own! Kefir whey still makes good cultured veggies, I’ve just gotten pickier over time and want to get the most L. plantarum I can. It’s got superpowers!
Gather Your Ingredients
Buy the freshest veggies you can find. This makes summertime ideal, although I’ve cultured a lot of vegetables in the winter too. You’ll get less kahm yeast which is a harmless white yeast that can occur if your veggies aren’t fresh. You’ll want to remove it if you see it because it can make your veggies taste bad. You can culture almost any vegetable. As a general rule of thumb, cabbage takes six days, while most other veggies like carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, etc., can take two to three days. Check out my recipes to see more detailed instructions.
Here is a basic kraut recipe to get you started:
Watch How to Make It
Every ingredient with a link was selected by me to make it easier for you. I may receive a small affiliate commission if you buy something through my links. Thank you! ❤️
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