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If you have some beastly looking veg or like the taste of sweet and sour try fermenting some veg and take your stomach back to ancient, paleo, times!
Fermentation has long been part of human history. Food scientists say that it played a vital role in human survival because it allowed people to preserve food in a nutritional and safe way.
Considered to be ‘live’, fermented foods have a natural tart flavour because the sugars and carbohydrates have been broken down and used up during fermentation. With vegetables, they become more digestible than raw ones. And, because they contain living bacteria they help digest other foods in the gut.
Fermented vegetables can be safer than raw vegetables, thanks to the ability of lactic acid, which forms during fermentation, to kill any harmful bacteria that might be present. For more science and safety tips click here
As a lover of sauerkraut and coleslaw and an abundance of beetroot and ugly carrots in my veg patch I was keen to try this out. I now have a large kilner jar bubbling away without adding any bacteria starter. I just grated; beetroot, carrot, apple, cucumber, chopped onion and red chilli, sea salt caraway seeds and turmeric. As a general guide you should cover the veg with water and add 3 table spoons of salt for every 5lb of veg. (make sure it is sea salt not rock salt)
My veg mixture produced enough juice to cover the veg so no water was added and nothing happened for a couple of days. Bubbles then started to appear and then stopped 2 days later presumably as the acidity level of lactic acid stopped the fermentation.
According to the experts to be safe the PH scale needs to be below 4.6 so I have ordered a PH metre to check, as I have also heard that done incorrectly fermenting can lead to food poisoning.
I thought about pasteurizing the finished product but would then kill the good bacteria that would benefit my gut flora. I presume the combination of the sugar from the veg and acidity level from fermentation acts as an effecting preservative.
So a great way to use up ugly or left over veg and end up with a food that is really good for your gut. Comments welcome below.