Health has never been quite so high on our agenda, bringing new diets and trends to the way we eat. Fermentation is a word we are hearing more of lately but what exactly does that mean for us and what is involved?
Fermentation is a natural process and has been around for thousands of years. Think bread, wine and beer and that’s the process involved, but recently it’s how we have adapted that process and what we are fermenting that has changed.
The current crop of ferments use fruit and vegetables and begin with lacto-fermentation where they are soaked in a starter culture, sometimes their own juice or a brine.
This starts with the growth of bacteria, which then eats at the natural sugars producing a lactic acid creating a whole different taste altogether. The acidity kills any bad bacteria leaving nothing but tangy and beautiful tart goodness behind.
Fermentation is fun, opening up exciting new flavours while creating an amazing culture of health. The entire process creates beneficial enzymes, nutrients and natural probiotics that aid digestion, improve bowel function and ups your immunity. Not forgetting that it’s a budget friendly way to incorporate inexpensive healthy foods into your diet. Plus fermented foods last much longer.
Another important thing to remember is to use a tightly sealed lid for storage once the fermentation is complete.
Begin your fermenting journey with Kilner jars and try this Beetroot and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe.
- ½ medium red cabbage head finely diced
- 1 medium beetroot, peeled and grated
- 2 inch ginger piece, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp sea salt
Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and sprinkle the salt all over. Use your hands to scrunch the salt into the vegetables and leave for a few hours, mixing occasionally, until the juices collect in the bottom of the bowl.
Transfer the mixture into clean glass Kilner jars and press down really well. If the juices don’t completely cover the mixture, add more salted water (1 tsp sea salt to 1 cup of water). Make sure you leave around 1.5” headspace between the top of the jar and the liquid.
Cover with a cabbage leaf and pack it down again. Put the lid on and leave it loosely fastened or if using a clip top, don’t fully fasten the clip.
Leave out on your worktop for 3-7 days (the longer you leave it the stronger the taste so if its your first time, we recommend 3 days.).
Once you have finished fermenting, seal tightly and keep in the refrigerator until chilled. It’s now ready to eat and will keep in the fridge for months (if it lasts that long!).