by Jaimie Jusczyk, Marketing Specialist
At our Intro to Fermented Veggies class with Stephanie Zydenbos-Heino, Ferminista & Owner of Micro Mama’s, Stephanie shared her tricks on how to make amazing, health-promoting lacto-fermented veggies that are loaded with beneficial bacteria! She showed us how to make a great kraut with nothing but cabbage and salt and gave us ideas on how to zip things up with different veggies and spices. In this hands on workshop, we all took home a mason jar to finish fermenting.
It really was a hands on class as Stephanie had everyone give their hands a good wash with hot water (apparently soap can contaminate your fermented veggies and they will pick up the taste of soap, yech!) and start prepping carrots and cabbage. We used peeled and cut carrots to weigh down the cabbage, these were picked from the organic Shaker Gardens by Co-op Organic Garden Manager Stacey.
Then we had to shred or slice the cabbage. Stephanie brought in her mandolin slicer to help speed the process along while others sliced and diced with knives.
Once the cabbage was all shredded Stephanie showed us how to “massage” the cabbage with a high quality salt from high altitudes.
Next she started to massage the cabbage and slowly add salt. When she started to massage the shredded cabbage with salt it began to get very watery and bubbly, perfect to start the fermenting process.
There really wasn’t much more to it besides making sure the ratio of salt to cabbage was ok for the temperature that the jars will be stored.
So after the cabbage was well massaged it was time to start packing in into jars. Stephanie suggests using glass jars as there is less risk of anything leaking into your fermented veggies, unlike plastic jars. She did recommend using a plastic lid as the ph level of the fermented veggies can rust the metal lids affecting the taste and quality of your finished product. The reason Stephanies products in the store have metal lids is that she fermented her veggies is large ceramic or glass jars and then repacks into the smaller jars for retail. There is less time and risk that these lids will rust.
I guess this was time for the fun and messy part as we grabbed handfuls of cabbage and pushed it in tight, trying to get all the air out to avoid our jars overflowing during storage. The tighter we packed it down the cloudier the mixture looked as more and more juices started to bubble within and this is totally normal, Stephanie assured us.
So once we had packed the cabbage in tight, we pushed in carrots to help keep the cabbage under the liquid. The carrots will also ferment and be delicious when we are ready to open our jars!
It is a relatively messy process, but very rewarding when after a minimum of 7 days you could open your jar to enjoy, but Stephanie suggested waiting 30 days to let more of the good probiotics grow and give you the best bang for your buck!
If you are interested in upcoming Co-op health and wellness classes, check out our website… http://concordfoodcoop.coop/classes/