DIY probiotics with just 3 simple ingredients: salt, water and vegetables. That's it! The process is called lacto-fermentation, a fancy word for pickling. And the BEST part, you can enjoy these yummy pickled vegetables in just two weeks! Truth be told, I prefer to let mine sit a bit longer to achieve a more intense sour/salty flavour which I often crave.
What is so great about lacto-fermentation? It is cheap, tasty, easy to make and beneficial for your gut health. Don't let the name fool you, this process does not contain dairy. Lacto-fermentation is a process by which lactic-acid producing bacteria, which occur naturally in the environment, break down sugars and form lactic acid. The salt and lack of oxygen help prevent bad bacteria and fungi from growing. The most commonly known foods made by lacto-fermentation are sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, and kimchi.
I have included a basic recipe to get you started, but don't stop here! There are many more recipes online ranging from simple pickled cabbage, to kimchi and even lacto-fermented fruit and drinks.
Basic Lacto-fermented Vegetables:
Yield: 1 litre jar
Prep time: 10-20 minutes
Fermentation time: 2-4 weeks (depending on personal preference, I prefer waiting 4 or even 6 weeks for more intense flavours)
NOTE: Once finished, these vegetables should be refrigerated and consumed quickly. This is not a long-term storage solution. Be sure to follow the instructions provided with your fermentation lid. Techniques may vary slightly.
Popular vegetable options:
Follow the instructions that come with your fermentation lid.
Dissolve salt in water.
Cut enough vegetables into 1/2" pieces to fill a 1 litre Mason jar. Leave two inches of head space.
Add salt water to cover vegetables.
Place fermenting lid on jar and store in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Optional - Add a pinch of dried dill and mustard seeds.
Once vegetables reach desired flavour, remove fermenting lid, cover with a regular lid and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!