Cultured Vegetables

Cultured Vegetables or Fermented Vegetables like all fermented foods add billions of healthy bacteria to your gut and supercharge or amplify the natural benefits of the vegetables, herbs and spices in the jar.  Another great way to improve your gut health.

Starting our Cultured Vegetable Journey...

The cost of buying fermented vegetables was racking up quickly with a 500g jar costing around $15 and $20 at our Organic Fruit and Veg shop.  So back to the internet I went and started researching cultured/fermented vegetables starting of course, with Donna.   I was excited at how easy it is to make and have quickly found a couple of recipes that are already family favourites.

We’re finding it a great addition to our workweek salads and lunches.  For something really simple, half an avocado with some fermented veg and juice in the centre is a great combo!  Although it’s only been a couple of months I really can’t imagine not having cultured vegetables in my daily diet.  

Be sure not to waste the left over juice once you've eaten all the vegetables.  It is a great ‘mother brew’ or starter culture for another batch, or you can drink it.   An added bonus of the juice is it is a lovely little ‘fix it’ for anything from a tummy bug to nipping a cold in the bud.   We really like the fresh, clean taste (yeah I know, that doesn't sound right, does it!)   

Health Benefits ....

Fermented vegetables  (as with other fermented foods) ...

1.  Enhances existing nutrients and creates more nutrients.

2.  Improve digestion and mental clarity.

3.  Detoxifies the body.

4.  Enhances absorption of minerals; and

5.  Helps restore and maintain gut health which in turn supports your immune function (really, really important!)

Five really good reasons to give it a go!

Making my own ...

To start with, rather than buying jars, I saved the large olive, sun dried tomato and gherkin jars we were buying anyway.  Every Saturday morning now when I get home from having coffee with my girlfriends and popping into the butcher and fruit and veg shops, I shred cabbage, carrot, with garlic, peppercorns, fennel or any other combination I feel inspired to create, mix them with a little salt and stuff the mixture into jars.  Please do look up proper recipes when you're giving this a go. 

Allowing a few centimetres at the top of the jar for the fermentation process, fill the jars with water (and some left over juice from the previous batch if you have it) making sure the vegetables are covered and place the cap on firmly.  A little trick I have learnt is to put a half an outer cabbage leaf on top of the veg to help keep it under the water level as the contents tend to float to the top. 

I do discard this leaf before putting the jars in the fridge after fermentation.  The jars then sit on my kitchen bench for 6-7 days alongside the fruit basket, almond kefir, dairy kefir and my kombucha pot. 

I have to admit the kitchen is looking a bit like a science experiment – albeit a very healthy and delicious one!  My laundry is located just off the kitchen and tends to be the coolest place in the house, so I have thoughts de-cluttering my kitchen in the warmer months and moving my lovely ferments there.  But for now they need a warmer environment, so the kitchen it is :)

Happy Healthy Eating!

Care to share your favourite fermented vegetable recipe?

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