When you consider all the ways you can preserve your garden produce, fermenting them is one of the easiest! It requires no heat in your kitchen, and just a few simple tools. Bonus is that the fermenting process adds bacteria to help heal your gut! Win-win!
Fermented foods are a traditional way of preserving homestead bounty. Cheese, sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough, beer, wine, and kimchi are all classic examples of fermented foods we still enjoy today. Horizons have been greatly expanded and now, you can “ferment all the things.”
What does it mean to ferment foods?
It’s the process of using microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under anaerobic conditions. Essentially, you are placing your foods in a salt water brine, and adding in a starter culture. It is then allowed to sit in either an aerobic environment or anaerobic environment until the bacteria grows. The food is preserved by the salt in the brine and the added good bacteria.
The health benefits of fermented foods are enough to make you want to get your jars and airlocks, too.
- It adds healthy bacteria for gut health
- Adds beneficial enzymes
- Can increase bioavailablity of minerals
- Fermented diary can contain higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
What do you need to ferment your garden veggies properly?
- Glass containers-perfect for brining, and sourdough starters
- Wooden utensils-metal spoons and forks can destroy some of the good bacteria in some cultures
- Jars (you can reuse canning jars)
- Kitchen towels, coffee filters, or cloth napkins (for some ferements such as vinegar)
- Air locks (available here)
- Rubber bands or twine for holding napkins and filters in place on the jars
Are you ready to try your hand at fermenting your garden veggies this year? Here’s some great recipes to get you started:
Which recipe are you wanting to try first? Be sure to come back and try all of them!