Fermenting vegetables is fun.......
and the results are yummy but if you are wondering what to do with all those spare kefir grains you have, they can be used to ferment vegetables and the results are even more yummy.
Vegetables that have been fermented with kefir may be regarded as a vegetable probiotic source, low in carbohydrates, rich in , Lactobacilli,Yeasts, Vitamin U (only found in cabbage so you must have cabbage in your ferment) and Vitamin C including some of the B group vitamins bio-synthesised by the friendly organisms native to kefir grains.
with the addition of kefir grains incorporated as a starter-enhancer in your vegetable ferment, the culture-process seems to ferment much more rapidly and efficiently in comparison with non kefir ferments, and without the use of any salt, or, a small amount of salt ( added just for taste,or to extend the safe storage). A more rapid fermentation as a result produces culture-vegetables with optimal nutritional value, as the oxidation of nutrients is minimised.
How to prepare the vegetables
In this method i will use cabbage as if i were making Sauerkraute with kefir.
Remove large outer dark green leaves from the cabbage until, light -green leaves appear. Keep two of the outer dark-green leaves and wash well with fresh water. Cut whole cabbage in half and remove hard centre bit with a knife then Shred cabbage to about 1/2cm thick long strips.
I personally prefer the Electric Food Processor Method for Bruising Cabbage (Put an amount of shredded cabbage in electric food processor and process as low speed for a few seconds until bruised and a little juice is released from the cabbage. Do not over process otherwise you will be left with a mush. Put in a large bowl, and repeat, until all the cabbage is processed.) but you can also use a pestle and mortar (pound a small amount of cabbage in the pestle and mortar until lightly bruised and a small amount of juice is released when gently squeezed in your hand, repeat until all the cabbage is done)
Other vegetables can be used whole, so long as they do not exceed about 2cm in thickness or you can chop them to about this size, carrots and whole beetroot are best cut julienne style. Small round radishes may be included whole or cut in half or quarters. Broccoli/cauliflower heads need to be removed from the main stalk and separated into small individual florettes. Small heads may be added whole. The same goes for sprouted seeds or legumes.
- Mix all of your chosen vegetables together in a large bowl.
- Place either 1/2 tablespoon of milk kefir grains or 1 tablespoons of water kefir grains in the bottom of your fermenting vessel (i find a glass screw top jar best but A large non metal 2L tall round or square container works e.g., a food-grade glazed crock or glazed stoneware crock or a glass jar)
- begin filling your fermenting vessel with your chosen vegetables, press each layer down firmly with your hand. keep going until your vessel is half full
- place another 1/2 tablespoon of milk grains or 1 tablespoon of water grains in an even layer on top of the vegetables
- continue filling your vessel until its 3/4 full of compressed vegetables.
- Place 1 or 2 (washed) outer cabbage leaves over top layer of compressed ingredients. You need to force the edges of the leaves down the sides of the container using a wooden spoon or similar. This seals the ingredients beneath.
- use a weight to push down your ingredients and keep them compacted. The idea is to make sure that your vegetable do not float.
- If the ingredients are not completely covered in juice add a little water or juice (again personal choice) until all the ingredients are submerged (i use a glass filled with water, but there are many different weights you can use).
- cover the container with cling film and secure with an elastic band
- leave somewhere undisturbed in a cupboard for example. After 3 days check the surface of the liquid for signs of scum seen as froth or foam and remove this with a plastic spoon (this will not always form when kefir grains are used as a starter-enhancer.
- The fermented vegetables should be ready to go in the fridge after 4 or 5 days.
- Remove the weight and Seal the container with a lid, and place in the fridge. If your fermenting vessel is too large to fit in the fridge carefully put the contents in smaller containers. Always make sure the contents are covered with liquid, if you do not have enough liquid for this add some water or juice until the contents are submerged (but don't add too much they should just be covered).
- The vegetables will be ready to eat after about 7 days in the fridge (they are technically ready to eat as soon as they go in the fridge but taste better and are better for you if left to ripen).