We are so excited about all the Red Cabbage in our garden!
It’s time to start some “Fermentation” for this fall/winters homemade stock of beneficial bacteria. Eating raw fermented red cabbage is a homemade staple in our home. It's packed full of healthy probiotics and fibre that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The scientific community is all over the diet/gut microbiota/human health connection. It is being shown that having the right bacteria in our guts has been linked to numerous health benefits. This includes weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, better skin and a reduced risk of many diseases.
As spoonful of this type of probiotic foods a day keeps the Dr. away!
It has been shown that having a bit of fermented cabbage, a day can help with irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, immunity or low energy.
You can put it on your meat dishes, in soups, on salads or sandwiches or eat as a condiment.
Fermented Garden Relish
Makes 2-3 litre jars
Before canning with vinegar vegetables were traditionally made using only salt water brine. The slow fermentation process transforms the flavours and enhances the nutrition of the harvest. Because the vegetables are not heated at all, they are naturally probiotic and enzyme-rich foods which help with digestion!
I like to use this as a condiment on sandwiches, in wraps, on my meat dishes and in my soups. You can vary how you chop the veg, affecting both the flavour and the texture. If you chop the vegetables small, the fermentation time is less than if you leave the vegetables chunkier.
2lbs. vegetables. Of course, we are going to use our beautiful red cabbages, but you could also try a mix of carrots, daikon, turnip, radishes, cucumbers, beets, cauliflower, sweet peppers, celery, kale…or keep it simpler and choose one or two of these veggies.
For some optional flavouring: you could add garlic, ginger, chillies, pickling spices, seaweed, dried herbs…have fun playing around with flavours you might like.
A few fresh or dried bay leaves, grape leaves or horseradish leaves – optional (The Tannins in the leaves help keep the relish crunchy!)
1 heaping tbsp (20 grams) of non-iodized, unrefined salt
1 L water
1 two litre ceramic or glass jar or crock. - The mouth should be about as wide as the body of the vessel.
A container or jug for mixing brine
A plate that fits snuggly inside your croc that can weight down the vegetables submerging them under the brine. Any pieces floating at the top will attract mold and unwanted bacteria.
Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Wash your jar as well. (Soapy water is fine, no need to sterilize as you are not canning.)
If using a bay leaf, grape leaf etc., put them on the bottom of your clean jar. Add optional garlic and spices.
Dice the vegetables small (for relish) and mix together in a bowl. Add them to your jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jar
In a separate container, mix the salt and water
Fill the jar with the brine.
Weigh down the vegetables. You could use a glass weight or even a smaller glass jar that fits in the mouth of the container. Put a clean cloth on the top of the jar and secure it in place with an elastic band (to keep dust and flies out.)
Check the vegetables every day. Using a spoon or paper towel, skim off any bubbly scum or surface mold that appears, which can make them go bad. Take this opportunity to check the taste.
They will take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to sour to your liking. If put into a cooler place to ferment, they can take weeks to months. The smaller ones will be done first.
Once the batch is to your liking, put a lid on them and refrigerate them. It is normal and a sign of a good fermented pickle to have cloudy brine. They will last between months and a year, depending on the pickle. Root veggies last well, and pickled cucumbers may need to be eaten more quickly. Signs of spoilage are softening veggies, any unpleasant odour and slime.