I love having some preserved veggies on hand. They can give a more boring dish a savory, salty, tangy kick. Sauerkraut or kimchi can serve as a garnish, or a last-minute addition to stir-fries or soups. And, of course the probiotics in the fermented veggies are so good for the gut.
Some folks shy away from the saltiness of fermented foods, but salt is a natural preservative. One might use as little as 3 TBS. salt per 5 lb. of veggies, but it’s best to not go lower than that.
The recipe below is a loose guideline. You can change up the spices, or add some shredded beets or carrots as well. It’s best to use a larger proportion of cabbage, since it has the most fermentable properties. Note that veggies like onion, garlic and peppers are better used in small quantities, for seasoning, due to their low acidity. Makes 1 qt.
- 2 lb. total of veggies (1 head cabbage, plus some carrots and/or beets if desired)
- scant 2 TBS. salt, non-iodized (about .10 lb.; a scant half ounce of salt per pound of produce)
- optional: garlic, spices, caraway seed, pepper flakes, ginger, curry, etc.
- optional: kimchi-style ingredients (fish sauce or kelp powder, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, green onion, etc.)
Fine-slice the cabbage. If using carrots or beets, grate those. If a Korean-style kimchi is desired, use napa cabbage! Use: > 2 lb. total (approx.), of cabbage (including a small amount of carrot, beet, or onion, if desired)
Add the prepped veggies to a large bowl and toss with the salt and any other seasonings of choice. Use: > scant 2 TBS. salt > optional garlic, caraway seed, ginger, pepper flakes, etc.
The mixture will soften up after twenty minutes or so, creating its own juices as well. Then add to a quart jar, pressing in to fit. The vegetables should be pressed down enough that they are submerged in the liquid.
Cover the jar with a coffee filter or a cloth and let sit on counter for about 5 days. Check the jar daily to be sure the vegetables are covered with the juice. If they float to the top, press them down again.
After 5 days or so (this depends on the room temperature), the veggies should be fermented. It will taste fermented! Put a lid on them and refrigerate. Will keep for months.