DIY PROBIOTIC-RICH FERMENTED FOODS AT HOME 

Nourish your gut—naturally. Brimming with probiotics, tangy lacto-fermented veggies are a delicious way to maintain a balanced microbiome and healthy digestive system. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to make at home. Follow these simple recommendations for the best results.

1. Get the right gear.
No need to buy a fancy fermentation set. All you need to get started is a wide-mouth mason jar, wooden spoon and some sort of weight to keep the veggies submerged in brine (a cabbage or apple core or even a smaller mason jar resting on top of your ferments will do the trick). Run your jars through the dishwasher before using.

2. Choose organic.
Starting with clean, pesticide-free produce will guarantee a better outcome. Select high-quality organic veggies from your garden, or shop for them in Rising Tide’s 100 percent organic produce department! Not convinced? (In honor of September being Organic Month, here are some more reasons why it’s more important than ever to buy organic.)

3. Wash veggies well.
Wash produce carefully under cold water and make sure to remove all dirt and debris before fermentation, as this could affect the taste of the final product. After washing, slice your produce in uniform pieces for even ripening.

4. Use purified water.
Always use distilled or purified water for your brine. Tap water contains chlorine, and often fluoride, which can disturb the growth of good bacteria.

5. Don’t skimp on the salt.
Along with adding flavor and creating a crispier texture to your veggies, salt kills harmful bacteria and prevents mold during the fermentation process. Be sure to use the exact amount that the recipe calls for. Opt for high-quality Himalayan or sea salt instead of table salt.

6. Give veggies time to ripen.
Cover your jar with an airtight lid, and give the fermentation process at least a week on your kitchen counter before checking. You’ll know they’re ready when you see bubbles forming in the brine and the mixture omits a sour, though not unpleasant, odor. If you see mold on top, simply scrape it off with a wooden spoon and discard. Shaking the mixture once a day; this helps inhibit mold growth. It’s a good idea to taste the product to determine if it could use a few more days to culture. If your veggies smell rotten, toss them and try again.

7. Store your finished product in the fridge.
Finally, it’s time to move your veggies to a refrigerator or cellar. Cold temperatures slow the growth of healthy bacteria, so the flavor of ferment will continue to deepen and evolve. Your veggies will keep in cold storage for up to a year.

Start your own fermentation adventure. Check out a bunch of make-at-home fermentation recipes here.

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