I am passionate about all things fermented. I’m constantly looking for new things to ferment. It’s more about the taste for me and the enjoyment, the health benefits are just a pleasant bonus.
The big secret to successful vegetable fermentation is to make sure the vegetables are fully submerged in brine (salty water). If the vegetables float to the surface and get exposed to air, they are likely to develop a mold. Some vegetables like cabbage release their own juices but for others like cauliflower and beetroot a brine is required.
Any vegetable can be fermented with the addition of herbs and spices. I have done broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, beets, capsicum and tomatoes. My next fermentation experiment would be mixing in some fruits, I’m thinking cranberry sauerkraut. I can just taste it now, it would be out of this world delicious.
How much salt to use when fermenting vegetables? There isn’t a magic ratio that everyone should follow, it all depends on your preference. My rule of thumb is to salt slightly, taste and add more as I go. This has worked for me every time. The brine should be salty but not ocean water salty. As a starting point, use 2 tablespoons of salt per litre of water. You can add more if you like a saltier ferment. Too much salt slows down the fermentation process to the point of ruining the whole batch and less salt may result in mold.
What water should I use; filtered, tape or boiled? Most recipes call for filtered water but I’ve always used tape water and all my ferments have been successful. It just comes down to personal preference but I just thought I put it out there that tape water works fine. If you do boil the water, you would need to let it cool down to room temperature before adding it to the vegetables.
In the recipe, I don’t have measurements for everything and that’s because how much of each ingredient you use is depended on taste and flavour preference. I’ve provided you with a rough ratio for the brine, and my rule of thumb . Decide how much vegetables you want to ferment, then choose the size of the jar you are going to use and that will determine how much water and salt you need. Don’t be afraid to experiment, in fact I think it is necessary in order for you to find the right taste and flavour.
Good luck and I hope you fall in love with this gorgeous vibrant ferment like i have!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 large beets, peeled and cut into chunks
- Salt (2 Tablespoons per litre of water)
- Peeled garlic
- Cumin seeds
- Chilli flakes
- Mix 2 tablespoons of salt per litre of water, and stir until all the salt is dissolved.
- Break the cauliflower into chunks and cut or leave the garlic whole. Tightly pack the vegetables into a glass jar, and add cumin seeds and chilli flakes.
- Pour the salty water/brine over the vegetables. All the vegetables should be fully submerged into the brine. To keep everything under, place a small glass filled with the brine on top. Cover the jar with a lid or cloth and let it ferment for 4-6 weeks.
- Adding some sauerkraut or other fermented veggie juice helps speed up the fermentation process but it's not necessary so don't worry if you haven't got any.
- Taste your ferment along the way, because it's important that you become familiar with the different stages of fermentation and how the taste changes overtime. Some people are happy with the taste after 3 days, some two week and others four weeks. I love all my veggie ferments at 6 weeks.
- Once you are happy with the taste, you can transfer it to the refrigerator. Eat it any way you want. I like to eat it out of the jar, it's so good.