16 November 2010

Veggie ferment

I've been cleaning up the garden and I decided to ferment some of the veggies I've harvested. I have a lot of turnips, some radishes, some tiny cabbages and quite a few carrots.

The purple cabbage was a volunteer from some cabbages that had gone to seed last year. Early in the spring, before we moved in, my husband and I laid straw down in the vegetable garden bed to prevent a huge weed catastrophe from developing. The bed was quite a mess and instead of cleaning up the rotten cabbages (what a stink - we thought there was a problem with the septic system) we just piled on more straw. The weeds came anyway and I didn't pay much attention to the little cabbages that were growing, hidden as they were in the straw and nettles, but a few grew and did very well in spite of the negligence. There was almost no insect damage.

I was inspired by a post at fast grow the weeds to make a sauerkraut with my little cabbages and other veggies. I added some garlic and hot pepper flakes as well. I ran everything through the food processor to get it all to a fine coleslaw-like consistency, then added salt and stuffed it into a jar. I'll check the brine level in the jar tomorrow and add more if all the veggies are not submerged. The hint I got from fast grow the weeds, is to stir and taste the ferment every day. That sounds like wise advice to me. 

I am convinced of the benefits of eating lacto-fermented foods, and I love the taste, but my family is not quite so enamoured of them. My husband, especially, is not keen on the saltiness. I will taste and adjust the salt as my veggies ferment to hopefully produce something everyone will eat.

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89

Day 2 update: My sauerkraut is a lovely purple colour and has a smell and taste that is as strong. What did I expect with all the garlic, onion, hot pepper, turnip and cabbage? I'll leave it on the counter for a couple more days before I put it in the fridge. 


  1. It sounds like a terrific combination of veggies, I bet it will taste great.

  2. Yum! I hope you like how it turns out, Bev...every batch of mine is different somehow, yet still pretty darned tasty. And yeah, you can jigger with the salt levels and even do some substitutions (with wine, with whey, etc.) that still kick in the lacto- part of the ferment so that your family might like it more.

  3. Today things are really happening! The jar keeps spilling liquid onto the counter and there is the first hint of sour. I really like the flavour and it isn't that salty. It has definitely mellowed since the first day.

    Thanks for the inspiration!



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