Naturopath and Herbalist Sebastian Runde shows us how to create your own superfoods and improve your health with fresh ferments.
You may have heard of Sauerkraut, Kimchi and other fermented vegetables, but have you ever tried to make them yourself? It is truly easy and a very satisfying experience to indulge in homemade fermented vegetables. Fresh ferments are packed with probiotics, which help to maintain essential balance in the digestive system. But not only probiotic, also heaps of vitamin C and essential enzymes to boost your immune system. A healthy gut will not only improve your wellbeing, but also your mood.
A spoonful per day is already sufficient to make a healthy impact. I enjoy my ferments sprinkled on salads, as a side dish, or kraut you can blend and use instead of lemon – it’s important not to heat up your ferments as heat will destroy the probiotics. Your microbiome needs them alive and kicking.
There are some favourite ferments I make, like ginger carrots, apple & beets or classic sauerkraut, but often I also use a mix of different veg, leftovers that need to be used up. I experiment with herbs and spices and discovered that you need to be careful with those; during the fermentation process most flavours become much stronger. If you are to use ginger, perperoncini, garlic or pepper, don’t be too generous, the flavour may be overpowering.
The process of fermenting vegetables is always the same and very simple, indeed:
- Slice or grate your vegetables finely
- Massage sea salt into your vegetables until they release their juices
- Pack tightly into a jar or fermenting pot, store them in a dark place and wait
- “Burp” your jars daily, if you are not using proper fermenting jars
In case your vegetables do not release enough juices to cover everything generously once packed into the jar, make extra brine with 2% sea salt. All vegetables need to be covered in brine as everything in contact with air may produce mould. The fermentation process takes place in an anaerobic environment.
After two or three weeks, taste your ferments. If you are happy with the taste and stage of fermentation, store them in the fridge as it will slow down any further fermentation.
Any vegetable and fruit can be fermented, experiment, create your own recipes and enjoy.