Fermented Food

This past year I’ve overcome two digestive issues and have made a lot of progress with one remaining. Because of all this, my diet is really basic and boring, so when I was told I could add in fermented food, I was really excited to learn more.

Fermented food contains microbes that are good for the gut, and since store bought fermented food doesn’t have the microbial goodness that homemade ferments do, I’ve gotten really into making my own.

For my first ferment I did butternut and sage. It was ok, though more like taking medicine at a meal rather than a tasty treat. Next I made basic sauerkraut with green cabbage, carrots and caraway seeds. This was a lot more enjoyable than the butternut squash.

Then I made fermented pickles. They were so good, I’m on my second batch. The trick to making crispy pickles is to include a tannin in the jar. I used a couple grape leaves in my first batch and a bag of black tea in my second. Both turned out fantastic.

My number one favorite ferment so far is purple cabbage sauerkraut. I just massaged the cabbage with salt then let it ferment. Every time we have it we marvel at how delicious it is. There’s some pictured above in the short squatty jar in the foreground.

Behind the kraut are fermented cranberries that I’m brewing for Thanksgiving. Also pictured are beets and carrots.

Below is a list of all of the equipment I’m using to ferment, and even though they’re affiliate links and we may make a little money if you click and buy, I really do recommend everything listed below:

I settled on the Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth lids by Nourished Essentials. Basically, these lids allows for CO2 to escape and keeps the oxygen out. The lids also have a little date tracker, which is handy for keeping track when a batch was started. So far it’s been fantastic and I haven’t had any mold yet.
Another tool that’s really helpful in making saurkraut is this beautiful kraut crusher. When you fill the jar with cabbage, you need to pack it firmly. It takes up space in our small home, but to me it’s easier than rigging some homemade solution. After I’m done using it, I rub olive oil on it to keep it pretty.
The next tool in my fermenting arsenal is Pickle Pebbles. I chose not to get the Nourished Essentials weights and picked these because of the reviews on Amazon. Weights are key to keeping all of the food submerged under the brine. If it’s not submerged, it could go bad. I got the wide mouth pebbles to go with my wide mouth jars.
Even though I’ve found many ferment recipes call for 1/2 gallons, I got two quart sized mason jars. With quart size jars I can fit the finished ferment into our small fridge without a problem. Just be sure to modify recipes when necessary.
I adore these mason jar lids. Mason jars come with metal lids that are flimsy and can even rust. These lids are super sturdy and I would totally get more if they came in other colors.

Getting into fermented foods has been one of the upsides to a difficult year in food. It’s so much fun and the results can be surprisingly delicious!

2017 Cost of Camping:
93 nights free camping
229 nights paid camping
322 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $7687.21
Daily average cost of camping: $23.87

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  • Reply LuAnn November 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    If you want some great tasting, interesting ferments, I would highly recommend the following books:

    “Fermented Vegetables…” and Fiery Ferments, both by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. I have tried several recipes from both, and have enjoyed everything. I also recently wrote a blog post about ferments.

    • Reply Leigh November 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Oooh thanks for the recommendations and I’m also checking out your blog post!

      • Reply LuAnn November 20, 2017 at 7:53 pm

        My pleasure Leigh. My hubby has had digestive issues and fermented foods, along with probiotics and digestive enzymes have helped him tremendously. We eat fermented foods every day.

  • Reply Pamela Wright November 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    It was so great to hear that you finally have a diagnosis and are getting yourself healthy again:) We loved having a chance to reconnect. Hope to see you again this winter! Keep up the good eating:)

    • Reply Leigh November 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Pam! It was so good seeing you two as well, see you somewhere soon!

  • Reply Pat hayes November 20, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for a great post, Leigh! It was just the inspiration i needed to try fermenting. And I’m so glad you’re feeling better.

  • Reply George April 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for the great info. I’ve had chronic digestive issues for years. I’ll have to try this.

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