This recipe for fermented pickles is pretty easy to make and is extremely healthy. It is probiotic and is very beneficial for the intestinal flora. The lactic acid produced by the salt brine is good for gut health which in turn, helps our immunity and overall health and wellbeing.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) everything that is sour corresponds to the wood element and therefore helps the liver. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, umeboshi plum, etc. are all beneficial and should be incorporated into our diet. In TCM, the liver is very important for overall health and is responsible for the movement of energy and blood. It is also the main organ that deals with detoxification in the body. Fermented foods are a great way of helping with digestion and to regenerate the gut. When our gut is healthy, we are healthy!
RECIPE FOR FERMENTED PICKLES:
before you begin, make sure that your ingredients are all clean and best if they are free of any pesticides and other chemicals (organic). I chose small cucumbers and diced beets for my fermented veggies (as in the photo).
– it is crucial that the mason jar or glass container that will be used to put the pickles in is sterilised and clean – you can check online how to do this or what I do, I put the whole jar and lid into a pot of boiling water and let boil for a couple of minutes. Then I take it out making sure I don’t contaminate the inside with my hands or anything dirty. I put aside to dry.
– you can use pretty much any vegetables available to you: cucumbers, beets, radishes, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
– fermenting with salt brine is what I prefer in order to create the lactic acids and bacteria we need – here the ratio of salt to water is important: too much salt will kill all the good bacteria we need. Too little salt, will enable bad bacteria to grow.
– I normally use a 3.5% ratio which means 9 grams of salt per 1 cup of water. Use fine and unrefined salt (sea salt) and filtered, non-chlorinated water.
– for spices you are free to use anything you like: dill, all-spice, coriander seeds, bay leaves, pepper corns, mustard seeds, fresh garlic, chilli, etc.
– the vegetables you can either leave whole (small cucumbers for example), cut them in slices or in small cubes – here it is better that the veggies all have similar sizes.
– put the veggies into the jar along with the spices – I used fresh garlic (you can keep them whole or sliced), pepper corns, coriander seeds, bay leaf and chillies. Try to pack them all nice and neat into the jar and press everything down.
– add the salt brine and leave about an inch of room at the top. This we want in order to weigh everything down with a weight so that nothing is popping out of the water as this would create mold. If you do not have a fermentation weight, then you can use a ziplock bag filled with water.
– close the lid gently or put a cloth over the opening in order to let the gases out and to avoid anything getting inside. Leave in a cool place for about 3-7 days. Check every now and then if there are bubbles being created and if the water is cloudy. This is a good sign as it means fermentation is happening. It might be that water might overflow, so maybe put something underneath to catch the water – this is normal.
– you can taste and if you like the level of tanginess, you can close and keep in the fridge to enjoy. In the fridge, the fermentation continues but at a much slower pace. If you prefer more sourness, then keep for more days unrefrigerated – here, the veggies might get softer as well so it’s up to you how you prefer.
Enjoy and do your gut some good! Eat them at a regular basis as a healthy snack or as an additional accent to your food.