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How to ferment your own vegetables, using a fermenting crock.

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

With a few simple tools, you can make fermented vegetables - like kimchi and sauerkraut - at home.


Fermented vegetables are a great source of probiotics. Vegetables prepared in this way provide the body with lactic acid bacteria. This bacteria can be incredibly beneficial for the gut and the digestive system. The entire body benefits from good gut health. Studies have shown that good gut health is linked to mood, behavior, low blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol. It has also been found that good gut bacteria can reduce stress. Time Magazine reports that poor gut health can lead to some cancers, Type II Diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. It has also been linked to depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and dementia.


Fermented vegetables are also a great source of nutrients. Many vegetables and legumes contain a natural compound called phytic acid. Phytic acid is sometimes referred to as an 'anti-nutrient'. This is because phytic acid can limit our body's ability to absorb some nutrients. When vegetables have been fermented, the phytic acid is broken down. Therefore, fermenting vegetables unlocks important nutrients, and gives the body the best chance of absorbing them.


What you need to make fermented vegetables


  • Fermenting crock

  • Stone weights

  • Knife

  • Chopping board

  • Large and small bowls (depending on what you're making)

  • Colander

  • Glass jars for storing your fermented vegetables


Pottery for the Planet Fermenting Crocks


How to make sauerkraut


Ingredients

  • 2-3 white or red cabbages

  • 2.5 tbsp non-iodised salt (iodine can inhibit the fermentation process)

  • Brine solution - made from 1 tbsp salt dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water (cooled)

Method


  1. Firstly, sterilise all of your equipment, so that it doesn't transfer foreign bacteria to your kraut.

  2. Chop or shred the cabbage finely, using a sharp knife. Avoid the temptation to use a food processor. This won't create the right sort of texture that is required for sauerkraut.

  3. Put the chopped cabbage in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle it with salt.

  4. Using clean hands, mix, knead, and squeeze the salted cabbage mixture, until it softens and the juices are released.

  5. Pack the mixture into your fermenting crock, placing the stone weights on top.

  6. The cabbage should be covered in juices. If not, pour some of the extra brine solution over the top.

  7. Place the lid on top and pour some water into the moat. This will create a seal.

  8. Put your crock in a safe place out of direct sunlight. Allow it to ferment for up to 2 weeks. You can taste the mixture throughout the process, using a sterile fork. Also, make sure the cabbage is always covered with brine. Top up as required.

  9. When it is ready, the sauerkraut will taste tangy and the colour of the cabbage should change from white/green to yellow, or from red to pink (for red cabbage).

  10. Once ready transfer to sterile jars and put in the fridge.

This recipe will yield approximately 2.5L, so will require one of the 3L fermenting crocks. You can make larger quantities, using the 6L fermenting crock.








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