A list of links to step-by-step instructions in pictures, follow the links below. In general, it’s 2 tablespoons of whey and 1 tablespoon of sea salt to 2 little jars or one big jar. Lactofermented veggies are a really neat way to liven up foods. We’re all familliar with pickle relish, but modern relish is made with vinegar due to industrilization’s desire to have every jar be exactly the same. The old way of preserving veggies for the winter was to use good bacteria (the exact same as is found in yogurt, see how I made yogurt to start this whole process) to crowd out the bad bacteria in the jars, thus keeping the food from spoiling.
Westonprice.org goes into the same stuff that I read in Nourishing Traditions about how eating lactofermented food is so good for digestion, absorption of nutritients, and keeping the body’s bacterial system in balance. Just like soaking whole wheat flour to make bread (how I do it is here) makes it easier to digest and absorb the nutrients, not to mention how much better it tastes, lactofermenting veggies does the same for nutrient-dense but economical vegetables.
I love that I don’t have to do cans in hot water baths and pressure cookers like traditional canning. Who wants to do that in the heat of the summer when produce is ready to be picked? I just follow the instructions in Nourishing Traditions; grating or chopping my vegetable, adding salt and whey, then filtered water as needed. Screw a canning jar lid (or even a clean applesauce jar worked) on tight, but don’t do anything else. Let it sit out on the counter for a few days to get the process started, then transfer to the warm part of a fridge (or root cellar if we had that)
Surprised that my family will eat this? Well, my husband will eat the sauerkraut and pickles, nothing else so far. I’m going to try putting the radishes in his sandwiches. My daughter loves the sourness of it all, as I talked about back here.
Worried about serving your family ‘bad’ food that will make them sick? Sally Fallon, in Nourishing Traditions, states that if an occasional batch does go bad, when you open it the smell will be so awful that nothing could persuade you to eat it. I felt better knowing this. I’ll admit that last time I did let it sit in the fridge for a good week or two before trying it, to make sure that if it was going to go bad I’d be sure to know it. This time I’m more confident in the process and we started eating some ginger carrots and sauerkraut after just letting it sit 4 days.
The purple is beet kvass
Pink is radishes
Orange is ginger carrots
The pickles are pretty obvious
And the pale jars are saurkraut
On another page: Green Beans
All these recipes, the pickles, the cream cheese, the yogurt are from Nourishing Traditions, which if you’re interested in this stuff you really need to buy. It’s an awesome reference.
I finally got by the health food store to buy real moist light grey sea salt this weekend. We keep it in a jar.
Salt and dill for the pickles. A tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of dill, 2 tablespoons of whey
Cucumbers cut into spears. They’re not specific pickling cucumbers, they’re the only organic cucumbers that Walmart had. And whey in the background from the still-dripping cream cheese.
All mixed up with filtered water.
We want a tight seal so the fermentation can be done anaerobically (without air). The white plastic lids don’t hold tight enough, I don’t think. And allow to rest for 4 days before transferring to the fridge.
At first I wasn’t sure what I thought of beet kvass, and I origionally bought the beets to do pickled beets. But that required baking them for 3 hours and it’s hot- didn’t want the oven going for 3 hours.
Beet kvass, like all the lactofermented veggies I’ve been doing lately, is supposed to be really good for digestion. The lactofermentation brings out the nutrients in the beets, making them easier to absorb in the body. It also is raw, so has the enzymes in it still that are so essential to life.
Beet kvass is recommended as a tonic, so we’ll try drinking the liquid or adding it to salad dressings and other things where it will remain uncooked so the enzymes stay intact.
Nourishing Traditions (where I got the idea for this) said to coarsely chop, not grate, because grated beets would turn into alcohol. I’m not sure how coarsely to chop, so I did one in bigger chunks, one in smaller.
With the whey, filtered water, and salt. We let them sit on the counter for 3 days with the jam jars screwed on securely (but not boiled or cooked or steamed or anything) and then transfered to the fridge to stay.
Lactofermented Beet Kvass Digestive Tonic
- 2-3 large beets
- 1 tablespoon whey per quart
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt per quart
- filtered water to fill to 1 inch of the top of the jar
Wash, peel, and chop beets. Fill the jar 3/4 full with beets, add salt and whey, fill the rest of the way with filtered water. Screw on a tight fitting lid, allow to ferment 3-5 days, then transfer to the fridge. You can use the beets for a second ferment after drinking all the liquid kvass by repeating the water/whey/salt instructions.
For ginger carrots. Organic carrots, couldn’t find organic ginger.
Mixing the whey, salt, carrots and ginger.
Pressing to get the carrot juice outPressing again once it’s in the jar. I’m a messy cook ~grin~
I’ve been wanting to do real mayonnaise for a long time now. I did decent stuff back in 2007 but it was with canola oil, which we’re avoiding now because it’s genetically modified. At least it wasn’t the partially hydroginated soybean oil that’s in commercial mayo.
This weekend I finally gave up on the kitchenaid and used the food processor, which is what is recommended in Nourishing Traditions anyway. I hadn’t used it before because I find it a pain to clean, and also I wasn’t sure which blade to use. I just used the biggest metal sharp blade and it worked really well. I remembered that this was why I bought the grape seed oil, and since the grape seed oil is bright green my mayo has a green tint but that’s fine. I ran out of grape seed oil before it was done, so there’s some olive oil in it too.
I added whey also, so it’s lactofermented. After letting it sit out for 7 hours (which is so counter intuitive! Haven’t we been trained since forever to never let mayonaise sit out?) it did thicken up, and then even more after being in the fridge. I’m happy with it and am officially no longer intimidated by a little oil, salt, raw eggs, and whey.
Hannah and I have been devouring the pickle spears that we made last week. And since we’re mostly milk free, I’m thrilled to be getting some good bacteria for us (through the whey) that most people can get from yogurt.
Honestly, as healthy and frugal as I try to be, I still way too often find produce rather… wilted… at the bottom of my fridge at the end of the week. Preparing my veggies this way keeps that from happening, which is great for our health and dollars.
And this ties right into what Kimi is talking about at The Nourishing Gourmet, not wasting food. Hop on over there for more frugal fare at Pennywise Platter Thursday
Ginger Ale from a can isn’t something beneficial for anyone to drink (corn syrup, artificial flavoring, not to mention aluminum or plastic leaching out from most commercial containers). But homemade ‘soda’ or Ginger Ale is a healthy treat, rich with probiotics that help your digestion and help you to absorb the most from your food. Ginger is a natural antiinflammitory and a tried and true remedy for upset tummies.
Want to get started making your own homemade healthy sodas? See my Resource Page!
From Nourishing Traditions, but in true-to-me form modified to suit the ingredients I had on hand. Sugar rather than rapadura, lemon juice rather than lime juice, and cut the recipe in half because I didn’t have enough lemon juice or ginger.
1/2 cup peeled and chopped or grated ginger
2 tablespoons whey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Put in a jar, fill to within one inch of the top with filtered water. Shake to mix. Allow to sit out to lactoferment for 3 days, transfered to the fridge. She says it’s best sipped in small quantities at room temperature rather than being chilled.
Tried it a few days later. Ahem, I think it’s alcoholic. Didn’t give it to my girlie girl. A little strong to drink straight, so I watered it down, I want to try it with sparkling water as recommended. It’s good, not the cornsyrupy sweet of commercial ginger ale, but it’s good.
The bottom shelf of my fridge was buckling under the weight of all my lactofermented veggies. Some of the pickles I did (above) were a little softer than we liked, but I thought they would still make fine relish. So I drained 4 jars of pickles and added some peppers for color, and pulsed to chop in my food processor.
Did the same with my radishes and the rest of the peppers.
Consolidated 9 jars down to two, and was able to finally put away the rest of my groceries (grin). Plus, I find relish to be easy to add to sandwiches, burritos, soup, etc.
Not into experimenting with veggies? You can still good probiotics with yogurt- easy to make in the cooler.