Fermenting veggies 101

By Alex Chung
Writer for Pro Home Cooks

August is by far the best month out of the year for produce! There are so many things popqping out of the ground like tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers, beets, and okra. Literally, everything is at its peak and there’s no end from the different kinds of produce available to the varieties that they come in. August is the time of the year to go to your local farmers’ market where all the produce is freshly picked, inexpensive and tastes the best that they will for the rest of the year.

Go to your local farmers’ market, get your hands on some of the freshest fruits and veggies you will ever taste. Be fearless to pick out some new items that you may have never seen before because before you know it its September. The months will get colder and the produce won’t be as fresh as they are right now.

However, one of the best ways to preserve the freshness of your veggies and fruits is through fermentation.

There are a couple different ways to ferment things but the way I’m showing you today is through lacto fermentation and below are 5 important things you need to know before you get started!

Number 1: Salty Water Is Key To Making Delicious Fermented Veggies

Creating the right environment for fermentation has to do with keeping the good bacteria in and bad bacteria out and the way we do that is through an anaerobic environment. This mean that there is NO oxygen available. If oxygen is present then the bad bacteria will thrive and will start to produce mold. So making sure that everything is UNDER water is very important for proper fermentation. Click the link to see the pros & cons of each of the different weights I choose to use!

Different Ways to Create an Anerobic Environment

Salt is another key ingredient needed to create the perfect environment for lacto fermentation. It helps keep bad bacteria away and helps the veggies taste better! In order to get the right amount of salt use the lacto fermentation equation: (Weight of the veggies + weight of the water) * .025 = amount of salt you need Just be sure to zero out the weight of the jar and you’re good to go. Check the video out to see me using the fermentation equation in action! Also the range of salt can go from 2% to 3% but 2.5% is a good average. The most important thing about salt is that you must weigh it out. Salt varies in density so weighting out the right amount the salt is key.

Lacto – Fermentation Equation

Number 2: The Perfect Temperature For Your Veggies To Thrive In Is…

Anywhere from 60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit! Anything colder will slow down the fermentation process and anything higher will speed it up. In which case you want to keep any eye out for it.

Number 3: Good hygiene Is Always Important

Before you get started make sure to rinse off your veggies, your jars, your hands, and anything that will be touching the veggies. It’s good to get off any unwanted particles and germs before you start the fermentation process otherwise it may become contaminated and effect the fermentation process.

Washing Veggies Before Fermenting Them

Number 4: Patience Is A Virtue

The fermentation process will take anywhere from 4 days to 5 weeks. The first day is where the microbes kill off any bad bacteria. The next 2-3 days is where the lactobacillus begins to turn the sugars into acids giving you a tangy flavor. Then the final stage of fermentation is the aging process where you develop more flavor and start to produce CO2.

Number 5: Lactic Acid Is Flavor!

Lactic acid is the by product of lacto fermentation. It adds another level of flavor to your veggies and it is the reason your yogurt has a nice tanginess to it. You will also find it in other fermented products like sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi. So the longer you let your veggies ferment the more tangy you will get. So after 4-5 days you can try it to see how tangy you like it. Once you get a flavor you like, pull it from the shelves and put it in the fridge to slow down the process. Clink the link to see me taste my veggies before i put it in the fridge!

Fermented Veggies… COMPLETE!

Click the button below to see my new video where I show you the step by step process on how to ferment some of my favorite veggie combinations and to see how my new fermenstation is coming along! This video was sponsored by Reclaim Arbor Wood so if you’d like to deck out any walls or rooms now is the time! Use the discount code “Pro Home Cooks” for 10% off your entire order of Reclaim Arbor Wood Wall Panel.

By Alex Chung
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
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