Prep time: 30 min Ferment time: 10 days
3 pounds vegetables: Choose your favorite seasonal vegetables: cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, onions, peppers, broccoli, carrots, radishes, etc.
4 cups filtered water, warmed
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sprigs fresh dill*
1 tsp whole black peppercorns or 1 jalapeño or a few small hot chiles, sliced (optional)
Put mason jars (if using) and lids into a large pot of water and boil for 10 minutes.
To prepare brine, combine warm water and salt. Set aside to cool.
Wash and chop vegetables into bite-size pieces. Arrange them tightly in your empty clean jar(s) or fermenting crock. Include garlic, spices, and herbs as you pack them in. If you're making sauerkraut, the process is a little different: See #5.
Pour the brine and fill all the way to the top ensuring that the vegetables are covered completely.
For Sauerkraut: Finely shred cabbage, discarding the core. Place cabbage in a large bowl with water and sea salt. Stir. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir cabbage again. Re-cover and set aside for an additional 30 minutes. Pack into jars or fermenting crock of choice. Pour any remaining salted water from the large bowl over the cabbage. Press down firmly to pack tightly and remove air bubbles. Make sure the salt water level rises above the cabbage. After 24 hours, pack cabbage down again to make sure that it is beneath the brine.
Place the vegetables in a dark warm place for 10-14 days, depending on the temperature of your home, until all bubbling action has ended (a warmer home, 70 degrees or higher, will speed up fermentation. A cooler home will slow it down.). Once open, store the fermented vegetables in the refrigerator.
Use any herbs and spices you prefer in place of dill. Whole coriander seeds and celery seeds are nice and will impart some nutty, citrusy flavors.
If your vegetables turn brown on top, it means they’ve been exposed to air. Scrape off the spoiled bit and push down the rest under the liquid so they can’t rise up again. If the batch is bad, it will smell and look awful. Some dilution in the bright colors is normal.
Fermented vegetables are great as a snack or an accompaniment to any meal. They are loaded with probiotics, which can improve gut health.