Fermented vegetables. Image: Casanisa Shutterstock

The Internet is full of guides on how to ferment vegetables. We’re talking about a simpler process than you might imagine.

A glass jar full of fermented vegetables at your local grocery store will likely set you back between $ 10 and $ 15. The time and materials used in the process are no more than five minutes and two dollars, respectively, and we usually imagine that manufacturers spent years learning from the masters of fermentation in a Stone Age town, or qu ‘they mortgaged his house to pay for high quality fermentation equipment to make sure the beans had a good pickle flavor.

Nothing is further from reality. This is how it works. This process can be applied to virtually any vegetable or vegetable.

How to ferment vegetables.

Prepare the vegetables.

The finer the vegetables are chopped or shredded, the faster they ferment (and the more you can put in a jar). You can also ferment carrots, onions, radishes, beets, and even whole cabbage leaves. It is above all a matter of personal preference and what you want to do with the finished product. Depending on the vegetable, wash and peel it as if you were going to eat it raw.

Add brine.

The salt prevents mold, while supporting beneficial bacteria, resulting in a fermented product with a crunchy texture. Fill the jars with the vegetables and cover them with a brine of 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water (use natural, non-iodized salt and preferably good quality water). Add herbs and other seasonings to taste.

The key here is that the vegetables stay submerged in the brine, because those left exposed to the air will rot. For floating vegetables, find a way to add weight so that they’re all submerged.

Let it ferment.

If using a glass jar, tighten the lid until it is snug, but not completely. This will prevent oxygen from entering, but will allow carbon dioxide to escape; otherwise, the pressure may increase until an explosion occurs (specific fermentation tanks usually have a waterproof seal for this purpose). Store in a cool, dark place, ideally where the temperature remains between 18 and 21 ºC.

How to ferment vegetables
How to ferment vegetables. Image: Bitt24 Shutterstock

Fermentation times vary from three days to three months or more, depending on the vegetable, temperature and other factors. The only real guide to when it’s ready is taste, everyone is different. Once the flavor you like is achieved, put the jar in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.