Better Health With Pickles!

There is something that other countries regularly include in their diet that the US does not really include in our national food traditions…pickled – or fermented – vegetables and foods!  Think about it:  the Germans have saurkraut; the Greeks were among the first to ferment grapes and make wine; the Koreans have kimchi; yogurt (fermented dairy) originated in India; China came up with soy sauce and tofu…

health benefits of fermented foodsThe benefits of adding more fermented foods into your diet helps to heal your digestive system. The good bacteria found in fermented foods provide a protective coating to your gut lining.  From lack of breast feeding in infancy (or mother’s poor health or poor diet) and antibiotic and hormonal birth control use, our gut linings oftentimes lack proper balance.  When there is a lack of good bacteria, the resulting problems could include:

  • Allergies such as sinus congestion or infection, allergic dermatitis, or food sensitivities
  • Weight Gain
  • Digestive Problems such as leaky gut, IBS, Chron’s Disease
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Frequent Fungal, Viral, or Bacterial Infection
  • Auto-Immune Conditions such as Lupus, Epstein-Barr, Arthritis
  • Mood Disorders such as Depression, ADD, Anxiety
  • Brain Fog
  • Muscle Achiness
  • Fibromyalgia

There are plenty of ways to include high-quality fermented foods into your regular diet.

1.  Eat plain (not laden with fructose!) organic yogurt for breakfast (or for a midnight snack).

2.  Use shoyu or tumari (fermented seasonings found in the Asian food aisle at the supermarket) instead of salt.

3.  Eat organic tofu instead of meat with dinner once a week.

4.  Make your own fermented vegetables and use as a side-dish, in a salad, or on top of quinoa, beans, chicken, or fish.  A plus:  these will not go bad for months!  This is a great way to use left-over vegetables in your fridge!

How to make your own fermented vegetables:

You will need:  2 cups filtered water dissolved in a ratio of 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt; 1 glass quart jar

Vegetables:  chopped cauliflower
chopped beets
chopped carrots
chopped green beans
chopped bell peppers
sliced radishes
sliced daikon
sliced cucumbers
chopped turnips
chopped broccoli
chopped kale
chopped onions
chopped green onions
chopped garlic
cabbage leaves (for the top)

+ Any Combination of Herbs and Spices:
dried chili peppers
black peppercorns
bay leaf
fresh dill
fresh basil
fresh tarragon
fresh mint
sea vegetables (arame or hijiki) – use less salt if using these

1.  Fill the jar with your desired combination of vegetables.

2.  Cover with the already mixed salt and water combination.  

3.  Cover the jar with a plastic lid or wrap so the liquid has room to “escape” over the next 9 or so days.

Also, I would recommend placing the jar on a container that will catch the escaping liquid so as not to make a huge mess in your kitchen!  

4.  Leave it on a shelf away from direct sunlight.  

5.  Taste the vegetables after about 5 days.  

6.  When they have soured to your liking, place the jar in your refrigerator where it should keep for a while if you don’t eat it all right away!  

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