A Quick Start Guide to Preserving your Vegetables and provide days of super Nutritious Foods without
This post is meant for last minute learning - when you are in a hurry!
Like a hurricane is potentially coming and you are OK with taking just a few minutes to shove some veggies in a jar - seriously - it is almost THAT simple.
Note : if you can, buy cultured veggies in your health food store - they are going to keep without refrigeration for a few days....
Also anything probiotic like live apple cider vinegar or even yogurt, is a healthy thing to do.***
Remember that sugar, vinegar and wine can be used as preservatives too.
These veggies will become "cultured" or fermented and give your family super nutritious food - whether you are in a hardship situation or not. They go thru a process that will preserve your veggies and also INCREASE the vitamins as well as provide a healthy beverage( the liquid)
Here are the simple steps and instructions - see my other posts for many variations and more..
There are tons of resources on the internet - this is the QUICK START version.
Read these 6 tips first, then follow the longer instructions below
1. Gather glass jars or ceramic crocks - they dont HAVE to have lids
2. Gather the veggies to be preserved - think beyond pickles and sauerkraut - if you have cucumbers (pickles) or cabbage (sauerkraut) thats fine but you can preserve lemons, oranges, carrots, garlic cloves, coconut, gren beans, fruits, root vegetables and much more.
3. You can use salt, whey* or starter cultures. If you only have salt - that's perfect.
4. Use good water for your brine - this can become a healthy beverage once its done.
5. Weigh the veggies down under the brine - this an be done with more whole leaves and plates, lids are ok if you have them but don't put them on tight .
6 . Tips and what to look for ...
The longer version of directions - this is still the QUICK Start Guide, but we wont make it more complicated than it needs if you need this last minute.
1. Use glass or ceramic, quart or pint are good. If you have larger containers and lots of veggies then that works. A quart jar will take about 4 days to culture, if they can be kept cool after that they will last months. If they can not - then you still have foods to eat for days...
2. Choose your veggies - you may be buying some or using what you have - some are OK to combine , like various root veggies ( ie cabbage and carrots) , others like beets - will want to be done separately. Wash and for the most part - cut them into bite size pieces. The size doesnt matter as long as the pieces in the jar are uniform in consistency and size.
3 Prepare your brine with salt and water. "Salt is an important ingredient, it keeps unwanted bacteria from propagating and helps keep the vegetables crunchy and crisp.
You can use two methods
General rule is 1-3 Tablespoons of salt per quart
3a - if you have shredded cabbage and carrots for example - push these down as much as you can to take out space. These create there own juices so opt for 2 T of salt
3B If you have for example small cucumbers or carrot sticks, then just pack as tight as you can. and opt for the 2-3 T of salt.
The best salt is a Celtic salt, try not to use iodized (processed) salt, but f that is all you have - go ahead.
Fill your crock or jar till full to about 2 inches from the top - this is important, so stack on cabbage leaves if you need to.
The brine / water needs to cover all the vegetables. This will produce gases but you can't let air get into the jar, so just be sure all is covered with your brine and pushed down and held down - even a plate will work. If you have a lid - do not put it on tight - the gasses need to escape.
You can keep this in a warm place - and in approximately 4 days (quart size) - you will have fermented veggies with probiotics full of vitamin B and C and more - and might even help calm the "nerves". Any jars will work - you an at first place the lids on with a paper towel and don't shut tight. After you are sure the process has started, take out the paper towel and place the lid on - if you cant keep it cool, the process will still keep going so don't place the lid on tight as gases will still be trying to escape.
What to look for - if you have your veggies in a glass jar, you should see little bubbles in 24-48 hours. The same should be happening in your crock.. DO NOT take off the lid or tops at this pint or the whole process will stop.
I have a crock that fits 4 tightly packed shredded cabbages - that takes about 3 weeks in moderate temperatures.
* one form of good whey is the liquid on top of yogurt - you can use that to make preserved condiments like catsup or mayonaise
*** probiotics have natural preservatives for the most part
Cultured veggies will smell a bit sour - but not putrid, as always - if it smells putrid dont eat it.
Cultured veggies can produce a bit of mold on the top but that is common. Keep a couple inches of leaves on the top and just discard them.
Go here for my free Sourdough Challenge - how to use wild yeast for baking