lacto-fermentation

Fermented Ginger Carrots & Fall Veggie Guide

With fall just around the corner, there are a ton of fruits and vegetables entering their prime. If you’ve been eager to expand your palate and eat healthier foods more often, now is the perfect time. Plus, with new fall routines taking shape, this season provides us with a fresh opportunity to try new things and form new habits. 

Next time you head to the market, pick up some of autumn’s beautiful bounty. A few of the best fall veggies for fermenting include: 

  • Beets
  • Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Apples (Spiced Apple Kraut is amazing! Recipe coming soon…)
The Beauty of Autumn

All these vegetables offer their own health benefits, so it’s good to mix it up throughout the season. However, I have a special affinity for carrots. My Simply Delicious Fermented Ginger Carrots recipe was the first one I made when I started to teach myself how to ferment foods. They were so good, even my kids ate them! 

It was a great way to introduce all that gut-boosting bacteria into our diets. It inspired me to try fermenting other vegetables and I haven’t stopped since. If you’re a beginner and have fear around starting, this is a great go-to, as it only takes a few days to ferment on your counter. 

The best part? Carrots are rich in Vitamin A (which your skin loves), Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other micronutrients. They also have a high fibre content, which makes them a great prebiotic food. Prebiotic foods feed the beneficial bacteria (the probiotics) living in our gut. Plus, the ginger is a wonderful addition for aiding in digestion and relieving digestive discomfort. Not to mention how much flavour it adds to this recipe. 

Fermented Ginger Carrots, using an airlock top

Fermented Ginger Carrots, using an airlock top

Simply Delicious Fermented Ginger Carrots

Ingredients
2 cups filtered water
1 ½ tsp. unrefined sea salt
4 cups grated carrots
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger

1 probiotic capsule 

Equipment
Small glass jar
½ gallon Mason jar or fermentation crock

Directions

  1. Pour the water and sea salt in a small glass jar and mix until the salt is completely dissolved to create brine. Set aside.
  2. Combine the carrots and ginger and place into a Mason jar or fermentation crock. Pack down firmly with your fist or a tamper and remove any air bubbles.
  3. Pour the brine over the carrots until the water level is just above the carrots. Leave room in the jar, as the carrots will release more liquid.
  4. Be sure to cover your jar with a tea towel fastened with a rubber band to block out any light. Leave the carrots on the counter for 3 days. 
  5. Transfer to fridge when ready. Enjoy!

Give this fall recipe (and my favourite fall vegetables) a try, then follow up with me in the comments below! Or, join the conversation on Instagram

Preserve Summer: Dill Pickles Recipe

As the summer ends, there’s a lot to start missing about the season. Sunny days at the beach or pool, excuses for long weekend trips and longer daylight hours are just some of summer’s best qualities. But there’s another thing I’ll be missing as the weather cools: cucumbers! Luckily, fermentation allows my favorite vegetables to be preserved well past their usual prime. 

If you’re like me and don’t want to let cucumber season get away, pickling is a great option. Not only do you get to continue enjoying them, but your body also gets to enjoy the many health benefits of cultured foods. 

Pickles are just one example of a fermented food that people love, but most store-bought varieties have skipped the fermentation process. Instead, they’re made through a quick-pickling method, meaning they get their flavor by adding acid. This way, the pickles don’t have to formulate healthy bacteria. 

My Dill Pickles are actually fermented, meaning they undergo the lacto-fermentation process to self-preserve by creating beneficial bacteria. This method is healthier and better for your gut. Win-win!

Dill Pickles

Yields: 1 gallon

Ingredients
4 lbs. small cucumbers
2 bulbs garlic, peeled and chopped
1 handful dill weed
1 handful grape leaves (or other tannin-rich leaves)
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
2 tsp. minced horseradish
1 tsp. hot chili pepper flakes
2 ½ quarts spring or filtered water
¼ cup sea salt

Equipment
1-gallon crock or jar* 

Directions

  1. Get the pickles ready: Gently wash the cucumbers. Place the garlic, dill weed, grape leaves, peppercorns, horseradish and chili pepper flakes in a 1-gallon crock.
  2. Fill the crock: Tightly pack the cucumbers in the crock, placing larger cucumbers at the bottom. Combine the water and salt to make brine and pour over the cucumbers. Put a plate or other weight on top of the cucumbers and add brine to completely submerge all of the ingredients. Cover the crock with a towel held in place with a rubber band.
  3. Time to ferment: In a few days, fermentation will begin. Bubbling can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on the temperature. When bubbling has ceased, sample a cucumber. If it has not pickled through to the center, give them some more time. When they are fully pickled, transfer to fridge for storage. (A half-sour pickle will still be raw and crunchy in the center.)

*Gut Girl Note: This recipe can also be made in two 2-liter jars—simply divide the seasonings between them.

Heal Your Gut! My Dill Pickles recipe is just one of many ways to prepare fresh ingredients that will assist in maintaining a healthy gut flora. If you want more information, check out my free Daily Gut-Healing Checklist

Essential Sauerkraut Recipe

When I talk to most people about fermentation, they often associate it with sauerkraut. That’s because sauerkraut is the “gateway” ferment for those first entering the probiotic world. Of course, there are countless recipes, but if you’re just getting started, my Essential Sauerkraut recipe is the ultimate beginner go-to. For those with more experience, this is a basic recipe that’s always good to have on hand.

Yes, you can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store, but it’s healthier, cheaper and more fun to make at home. And all you really need are 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Once you become more confident in your fermenting skills, you can add in a variety of veggies and aromatics. Some of my favourites are onions, carrots, garlic and ginger. You can even make your kraut seasonal by incorporating sliced radish in spring and summer and shredded root vegetables in fall and winter.

If you haven’t had the best experiences with cabbage, like maybe you’ve only ever had it boiled (ack!), rest assured sauerkraut is way more appetizing. In fact, naturally-forming lactobacillus transforms ordinary cabbage into a salty and tart condiment that packs a nutritional punch. What are those nutritional benefits, you ask?

Sauerkraut:
•    Helps boost your immune system
•    Aids in digestion
•    Repairs the gut
•    Decreases inflammation
•    Fights illnesses and allergies

Plus, cabbage is low in fat, yet high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals… I could really go on all day, but let’s get to the recipe!

Essential Sauerkraut 

Ingredients
1 head of cabbage
Sea salt

Equipment
Wide-mouth jar or fermentation crock

Directions

  1. Chop or grate the cabbage, keeping the pieces relatively even in size.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. I recommend about 3 Tbsp. of salt per 5 lbs. of cabbage, but taste as you go. If the cabbage tastes like a potato chip, and you can’t stop at just one, then you have added the perfect amount.
  3. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage, which will create liquid (aka brine). This can take about 15-20 min.
  4. Place the cabbage into a sterilized glass jar or fermentation crock. Add in all of the brine. 
  5. Using your fist or tamper, push all the cabbage below the liquid, getting all the air bubbles out. 
  6. If the brine does not rise above the cabbage, you can add a little salt water (1 tsp. salt in 1 cup filtered water). However, I’d prefer to wait 24 hours to see if more natural brine is produced. 
  7. Seal the jar or follow manufacture's instructions for using your crock. Leave the jar or crock in a cool, dry place and check the kraut every day or two. Don’t be afraid to give it a taste. You can enjoy in 3 days or, for a stronger product, 2-3 weeks. 
  8. When it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy.

I encourage everyone dealing with any type of gut discomfort to give this recipe a try. If you’re interested in learning more about digestive health and living a more beautiful, vibrant life, sign up for a FREE phone session today!