Fermentation is an ancient fermentation process that makes food last longer. This fermentation method creates healthy, tasty, long-life foods from their natural form, completely free of preservatives and additives.
Fermentation is the oldest preservation method in the world and is used primarily to preserve vegetables. This process converts organic matter using microorganisms. The microbes, yeasts or bacteria, form by themselves and do not have to be added. The fermentation is started by the action of salt and the lactic acid fermentation begins.
The best-known fermented food is probably the cabbage or white cabbage, which ferments into sauerkraut . But also kimchi (from Korean cuisine), which consists of fermented Chinese cabbage leaves, ginger, garlic and chilli.
Fermentation enhances vegetables
In times when there were neither refrigerators nor freezers, fermentation was a common method of preservation alongside canning and canning. In addition, aromas are created during fermentation that are lacking in the starting product.
Info: In Korea they know lactic acid kimchi. Leek, cucumber, radish or Chinese cabbage are used for this . Like us, these vegetables are canned for winter and are a national dish here. They are eaten as an accompaniment to almost every meal.
What can be fermented?
- All kinds of herbs
- Root vegetables like celery
- Spring onions
- And many more.
Info: In principle, any vegetable can be fermented. However, vegetables such as cabbage, beetroot, pumpkin, carrots or peppers are best. Softer vegetables such as tomatoes get mushy when fermented, but still taste really good.
This is how it is fermented properly
- The vegetables are first washed thoroughly and cut into small pieces or grated into small pieces. Of course you can also mix the vegetables.
- Then you put the vegetables in a bowl and press or squeeze them tightly together so that the juice comes out – in the past, sauerkraut, for example, were pounded with the feet. The mashed vegetables are now called ferment.
- Then you put the ferment (together with the leaked juice) in well-cleaned preserving jars or in a fermentation pot. The container should not be completely filled (because of the development of gas), but the vegetables should be pushed in well so that little or no oxygen has space.
- Now the container is filled with water so that all the vegetables are covered.
- You can now add spices – 1 tablespoon of salt is usually sufficient – but it is not puree. As a rule of thumb you can remember that you need about 1 tablespoon of salt per kilogram of vegetables – but it is purely a matter of taste.
- So that the vegetables stay under water during fermentation due to the gases, you should weigh them down – there are also special fermenting weights available.
- Now just put the container in a dark place at about 15-18 degrees.
- You should definitely wait a week. But the longer you let the vegetables ferment, the more intense the taste – 3 to 6 weeks are optimal.
- The vegetables must not come into contact with oxygen during fermentation.
- Each vegetable layer needs to be pressed down firmly.
- The vegetables must not swim and should always remain under the brine. That is why weights are used.
- The covered vessel stands in a dark, cool place (15-18 degrees) for at least a week.
- The more water the vegetables draw, the better.
- The preservation is not done by the salt, but by the lactic acid bacteria. The salt concentration should therefore not exceed 3% of the weight of the vegetable – 20 to 40g salt per liter of water.
- The less salt you use, the faster the vegetables ferment.
- No preservatives or additional energy are required during fermentation, so the process is very environmentally friendly and organic.
- If the taste is right, you can put the jar in the refrigerator, the cool temperatures stop the fermentation and it will keep for several months.
- For a special flavor note, add garlic, ginger, chilli, onions and / or fresh, chopped herbs to the vegetables.
- However, other spices, caraway seeds, mustard or peppercorns can also be added.
Info: Fermented foods can be kept for 5-6 months in the refrigerator.
Fermenting Vegetables are Healthy
Fermented foods are easier to digest because fermentation creates microorganisms that have a positive effect on our intestinal flora. Ferments are healthy, tasty and long-life foods with unique flavors.