-pickled food (lacto-fermentation or salt)
Adding a small to moderate amount of raw fermented food to each meal will help maintain beneficial bacteria in the intestines. This is like taking a low-dose probiotic except better because it is cheaper, less processed and you’re guaranteed high quality. Ideally these probiotic rich foods will be eaten regularly for life. But that should be no problem since they are so delicious and very easy to make. There is great variety in what foods can be fermented and what they can be eaten with. People with severe digestive issues may find raw fermented foods intense so they should start very slowly with about 1 tbsp. per day. In most cases those who do not suffer from any digestive issues can take fermented food in lieu of commercial probiotics.
The following recipes provide the basics. Please experiment with herbs and spices as desired. Also, you can add more or less salt depending on your taste. This is not an exact science and usually mine turn out different every time.
Fresh vegetables and fruits, fish and I suppose even meat can be pickled. This can be done through lacto-fermentation or salt fermentation.
1 medium-sized head cabbage
1 tbsp. sea salt
1.5-2 tbsp. whey
Chop or shred cabbage in food processor and add to large mixing bowl. Add whey and salt or double salt amount if not using whey. Massage cabbage with hands until the vegetables soften and the juices are flowing. Place cabbage in quart-sized jar, cover and let sit at room temperature for about 3 days. It is OK to check periodically. The cabbage should change color, from a pale green to a yellow-ish color.
Raw Pickled Vegetables
Vegetable of choice (cucumbers, string beans, beets, carrots, mushrooms, kohlrabi, tomatoes, etc)
1 tbsp. whey
1-2 tsp. sea salt
3-4 cups filtered water
Chop veggies or for softer veggies leave whole. Fill quart-sized jar with a suitable amount of veggies. Fill with water to cover the veggies and add whey and salt. Mix, cover and leave at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Beets should be boiled until soft and peeled before pickling.
Fruit can be fermented in the form of chutney.
2-3 large beets of any color
3/4 tbsp. whey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 cups filtered water
Peel and wash and then roughly chop beets. Add beets to quart-sized jar and fill with water to the top. The more beets you add the stronger the beet flavor will be. I usually like to fill the jar about half-way with beets. Add salt and whey. Shake and leave at room temperature for about 3 days. Kvass should be slightly bubbly. When you get close to the bottom of the jar, refill with water and let ferment at room temperature again. The second batch will be slightly less potent.
½ lb. salmon
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp. whey
1 tsp. sea salt
about ½ cup water
herbs and mustard seeds (optional)
Remove skin and chop up salmon. Mix salmon in bowl with lemon juice, whey, salt, water and herbs or seeds. Place in jar, cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Move to refrigerator and let ferment for 2 more days. This recipe can be used for herring as well. Or any fish perhaps.
desired amount of raw milk (1-2 quarts usually)
yogurt starter (1/4 cup per quart)
Allow milk and starter to reach room temperature. Add yogurt to milk and shake. Wrap with a warm towel and place in a warm spot, ideally at about 100 degrees for 12-24 hours. After a certain point the longer it sits the more “clabbered” it will become. However, the longer it sits the more the sugar will ferment and the stronger the probiotic activity will be. Try to experiment with different starters and different lengths of time. If you heat the yogurt above 105 degrees enzymes will begin to be destroyed and it will no longer be raw.
1 quart raw milk
about 2 tbsp. kefir grains or packet of powder
Allow milk to reach room temperature. Add grains or powder. Let sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours. After a certain point the longer it sits the more “clabbered” it will become. However, the longer it sits the more the sugar will ferment and the stronger the probiotic activity will be. The warmer your house is the less time it will take to “turn”.
3 quarts filtered water
1 cup sugar
4 organic green or black tea bags
kombucha starter (scoby)
Bring water to boil and add sugar. Let the sugar dissolve, add tea bags. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Place in kombucha bowl or jar (I use simple 4 quart glass bowls) and lay the scoby on top. If the opening is large put tape across the opening in a crisscross. Place towel on top. Or you can use cheesecloth. The idea is to let air (and bacteria) in but to keep the bugs out. Let sit for 8-30 days depending on the temperature of the room and other mysterious factors. Taste periodically. If it is sweet it is not done, if it tastes like vinegar it’s overdone. Do not allow any metal to touch the kombucha.
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