By Meg Thompson
I adore fermented foods! If you have never tried them before, this is the week for you. Fermented foods are the original probiotic. The process encourages the proliferation of good bacteria, which then bubbles away to produce enzymes, break down phytic acid and proteins, and just generally help us to digest our food.
We should be aiming to eat some of these magical foods every day to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. Our gut is responsible for 70-80% of our immune system, and if our gut bacteria is out of balance, we start to see problems such as allergies, intolerances, skin problems, IBS, leaky gut and candida, just to name a few. It’s also something to consider if you are a woman who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering having a baby as you will pass on your bacterial composition to the baby.
So, get your fermentation on! Some great examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee, kombucha, pickled vegetables, or preserved lemons as I have spoken about before.
Today I have decided to show you a super easy recipe for fermenting vegetables. Eating fermented foods is something that I recommend to patients all the time, but often they can’t take the extra step of making up a sauerkraut or kimchee despite its ease – I think it might seem more daunting that it is. Hopefully this looks easier!
Get yourself some lovely fresh produce. Then pop it together with a few kitchen staples, and there you have it! I have chosen dill, mustard and fennel seeds – the garlic is pretty much compulsory. You can do whatever you like here, but once you start adding in some dill and fennel (calming for the digestive tract, helps stimulate digestion), you start to get yourself a little digestive tonic in addition to all the other fermented benefits – bonus!
Any root vegetable can be substituted for this recipe. I had some cute hierloom beetroot so used that in the first version.
Fermented Hierloom Beetroot and Carrot Sticks: The Ingredients
4 medium carrots, or a collection of baby ones
2-3 cloves of garlic, quartered
A handfull of fresh dill
1 1/2 – 2 tbs sea salt
A couple of slices of chilli (optional)
A sprinkle of mustard or fennel seeds (optional)
Chop up the carrots and beetroot.
Pop them into a jar and add the other ingredients, shimmying the jar a little to combine everything nicely.
Fill with water, leaving a few centimetres at the top.
Pop the lid on tightly and leave a room temperature for about 4 days. Taste them at this point, if you want them more sour then you can leave them out another couple of days.
Transfer jar to the fridge where they will keep for ages!
You can also just keep it simple and make a little fermented carrot forest in a jar like this. Too easy!
I love to throw these on the side of savoury breakfasts, eggs, or use straight out of the jar as a snack, with or without dip. They are fabulous in sandwiches, on salads and grated into dips or to finish of any meal you like.
So there you have a super simple fermented veggie recipe.