If you haven’t yet discovered fermented foods, girl – it’s time! There are an array of fabulous health benefits to consuming them on the regular, plus it makes having veggies on hand super convenient. Luckily fermentation has been getting pretty trendy lately, so you can find options at lots of grocery stores. That being said, make sure you’re not fooled by two labels that are actually quite different. “Pickled” is not “fermented.” Something pickled sits in a jar of vinegar, and is not full of microbiome-boosting goodness. Something lacto-fermented is full of beneficial bacteria, no vinegar required. Lucky for us, lacto-fermented is totally CambiatiClean! Just check the label before you buy to confirm. And if you have a spare 15 minutes, the great news is that fermented veggies are super easy to make at home (even for a cooking-phobic type person!). Making them at home keeps them inexpensive and easy to include in our daily diets. Plus the fact that we get to eat or drink our creation makes it even more enjoyable!
I love the flexibility of making lots of different flavors and having veggies in my fridge for up to six weeks. The fermentation process includes carbs and proteins being broken down by bacteria, yeasts or molds. Sounds gross but the healthy bacteria is so good for us. You already might enjoy fermented foods like: sourdough bread, fruits & veggies, sauces & salsas, wine, tempeh, cheese, kombucha, etc. Now, slow your roll, I’m not about to tell you that cheese and wine are filled with probiotics. The “good guys” such as the fruits & veggies as well as the sauce and salsas are what we’ll be highlighting due to sticking to our CambiatiClean lifestyle.
Many fermented foods are considered to be probiotic, which has the literal meaning of “for life.” They are said to act as medicine for our gut and digestion health by supporting a healthy inner ecosystem.
Unfortunately, it is really easy for our microbiomes to get out of balance simply by living a modern lifestyle and eating the Standard American Diet. Antibiotics, environmental toxins, anti-bacterial cleaners, too many processed foods in the diet, stress, especially chronic stress, or too much sugar in the diet are just a few of the culprits.
Excess “yeast promoting foods” such as sugar or alcohol are a huge culprit behind an out-of-whack inner ecosystem. According to Rice University, candida overgrowth that is found in 70% of Americas. It is a fungus that lives harmlessly inside our body, but when out of balance can lead to unwanted side effects-fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, poor digestion, foggy thinking, weight gain, and yeast infections. No thanks!
If those symptoms sound a little bit too familiar, you’ll want to get more information on Candida (yeast overgrowth) by going to this blog to see how to test yourself (don’t worry, the test is quick and painless – you can do it tomorrow morning!).
As you can imagine, the Standard American inner ecosystem takes quite a beating, with few supportive actions taken to compensate – like consuming plenty of fiber to feed our healthy bacteria, or eating probiotic-rich food. (Do you get where I’m going with this?)
Fermenting veggies is a beneficial way of supporting your inner ecosystem back to balance. Recently, we have using a great fermenting kit from FARMcurious, and they have generously given us a coupon code to share: Cambiati. Their fermenting kit fits right over any sized Mason jar making it easy to choose the amount you want to experiment on depending on your family size. Plus you don’t have to store any additional kitchen “gadgets” (the kit, which contains 2 sets, is only a bit bigger than a tin of tea!) and it works with Mason jars you already have. Plus, FARMcurious is a local Oakland company and we love to support other small businesses that are doing cool stuff. Highly recommended!
Julia and Rebecca have become fermenting fanatics, and we’ve already been experimenting with the spices we use to ferment our veggies. First time we tried it, the veggies came out a bit salty, but that seemed to be because we only fermented them for three weeks. And they tasted delicious none the less. If you follow a few simple guidelines you will learn to love fermenting! Our second time, our radishes, carrots, and green beans had the same amount of salt for the brine and kick from the red chili flakes. We didn’t change the salt amount but we did increase the time to ferment which made them less salty. We thought that this below recipe was a bit salty but will pass it along for you to test. In addition to our recipe, we’re sharing an additional recipe from our friends at FARMcurious.
FARMCurious’s Sparkling Carrots with Ginger
- 1 wide mouth pint mason jar
- 1¼ cups (about 3 large) organic carrots cut into ¼ “ coins
- 1” fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into super thin coins
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup water
- Layer carrots and ginger in the jar however you like
- Combine salt with water, stirring to dissolve, then pour it over the carrot combination
- Leave 1” space between the top of the brine and the rim of the jar
- Insert the narrow end of the airlock into the rubber stopper and then insert the rubber stopper into the hold in the ReCAP lid.
- Screw the FARMcurious Fermenting Set onto the mason jar
- Store out of direct sunlight in a relatively cool spot (your counter is fine but not on top of the refrigerator) and wait 4-6 weeks
- Store in the refrigerator once opened. Will keep for a year or more!
Cambiati’s Spicy Fermented Vegetables
- Your favorite veggies (carrots, radishes, green beans, cauliflower)
- Sea salt (1 Tablespoon per 1 cup of water)
- Red pepper flakes (1-2 teaspoons per 1 1/2 cup of water)
- Assemble chopped vegetables in the Mason jar
- Dissolve the salt in chlorine free water. Add red pepper flakes. (*For milder level of spice, use 1 teaspoon; Use 2 teaspoons if you want to make it sizzle)
- Pour water over the vegetables until they are covered leaving 1 inch below the top of the jar
- Let sit 3-6 weeks to desired flavor
After three weeks, start testing to see if it has reached your desired flavor. Do not put the utensil that went into your mouth back into your jar OR put an already-tasted/bitten vegetable back into the jar. This could potentially introduce new bacteria into your ferment and RUIN your wonderful work (what does that mean? That you could come back to your jar and find a big ol’ moldy mass… yuck).
It’s also worth noting that if you don’t like the first ones you try, don’t give up. There are tons of different variations and additions you can try – add rosemary, garlic, ginger, peppercorns – vary the veggies from radishes to carrots to green beans.
We think fermented veggies are good with just about anything, but here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy them:
- As garnish on a plate that needs extra “zing”
- Mixed into an egg scramble
- Atop a salad (especially one with a hummus dressing – great combo!)
- Right out of the jar!! (but remember not to put the fork back into the jar after it’s been in your mouth)
- If you’re new to fermented foods, remember to start slow. Add just 1 tsp – 1tbsp at a time and build up.
We want you to try out this new way of eating and enjoying your food. Here is an overview of the positives to consuming fermented foods.
- Aid gut & digestive health (bloating isn’t normal)
- Support weight loss – did you know there’s mounting evidence a healthier microbiome is associated with lower BMI?
- Support immune health
- They’re partially digested through fermentation, making the nutrients more easily assimilated
- Rich in B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
- They support detoxification
- Protect body by fighting pathogenic microorganisms (also called “bad bacteria”)
- They’re a great step toward a healthier, balanced lifestyle
Need help getting started? Join one of our amazing Cambiati Classes today! Sign up here, you will love them!