Lacto-Fermented Mixed Vegetables
This is a ferment I frequently do, because I can just toss a variety of vegetables in a jar when I'm prepping vegetables for the week. They're delicious as a snack, as a condiment, on a salad or in any other dish that needs a punch of flavor. My son swears by drinking the juice of this ferment whenever he feels like he might be getting sick.
Mixed vegetables of your choice: cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, jalapeno, radish, celery, onion slices, whole garlic, cabbage.
Brine: 1 1/2 tsp. non-iodized salt, per cup of non-chlorinated water, see notes below.
Wide mouthed, quart size canning jar
1. Cut vegetables in about 1 inch pieces.
2. Place vegetables in a wide mouthed quart jar, leaving at least 2 inches of headspace.
3. Cover vegetables with a salt water brine, as described above.
4. You'll need to weigh the vegetables down with something like this. You can also use a small jelly jar, but don't fill jar as full of vegetables, as the jelly jar will take more room.
5. Put an airtight lid on the jar.
6. Place the jar on the counter at room temperature. You'll need to burp the jar once, or twice a day to release pressure. To do this, slightly loosen the lid to let off gas and re-tighten.
7. Ferment for 1 - 2 weeks, or until they are the flavor and texture you desire. Vegetables will ferment a bit faster in the summer than in the winter. Vegetables in smaller pieces will also ferment faster than bigger chunks.
8. Store in the refrigerator for several months, or up to a year.
The amount of salt is personal preference within a given range. If too little salt is used, the vegetables will not be crisp, it will also not discourage the growth of mold. However, if too much salt is used, it can slow and even prevent fermentation from occurring. Salt within the given range of 1 - 2 tsp. per cup of non-chlorinated water will keep your brine in a healthy range.
You may reduce the amount of salt further, by using 1 Tbsp. whey, or juice from another ferment, per 1 cup of non-chlorinated water. Whey tends to be a little more predictable. I would not recommend reducing salt below 3/4 tsp. per cup of non-chlorinated water.
If you have any trouble with your fermentations, you can add up to 1 Tbsp. whey, or juice from a previous ferment, per cup of non-chlorinated water, as a starter.
Experiment with seasonings for variety: peppercorns, fennel, red pepper flakes are all good options. Use whole seasonings rather than ground. For example, 3/4 tsp. Oregano, 3/4 tsp. Dill, 3/4 tsp. Basil.
You can use this same method to ferment a single type of vegetable, rather than a mix.
For more information on fermentation, read these links under food based probiotics.