While cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and carrots are virtuous on their own, their fermented side is the zesty treat you didn’t know you were missing. This easy mixed fermented vegetable recipe is probiotic-rich and has a medley of flavor in your mouth!
We all know that eating vegetables is good for you, but this recipe gives you the flavor motivation you need to do it! This veggie wonderland ferment is perfect to make when cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and broccoli are plentiful in your garden or farmer’s market. I’ll guide you through a no-fuss ferment that’s infused with garlic, herbs, and other fixins’ to create a probiotic-rich treat for your taste buds and your tummy.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It doesn’t get any easier to add extra veggies to your diet when all you have to do is grab a jar of these flavorful treats from the fridge, to your fork, to your mouth. And, repeat.
- Sure, I’ll eat raw veggies, but this recipe sure does brighten up blaze mixed vegetable sides when paired with dip. Seriously! While cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and carrots are virtuous on their own, their fermented side is the zesty treat you didn’t know you were missing.
- This is a super easy (or lazy?….no, let’s go with ‘efficient’) way to bulk up your fall and winter immunity when cold and flu season is at its peak. That’s because fermented foods contain good bacteria that strengthen your immune system (and regulates your appetite during the holiday food indulgence
youI commit November-January).
Mixed Fermented Vegetables are PACKED with health benefits.
- Eating fermented vegetables is a great way to supply your gut with tons of good bacteria that help break down complex carbs. This is what eases digestion.
- Keeping good bacteria in your gut is important because its their job to create a large portion of the vitamins your body makes. That’s right, your body synthesizes or produces vitamin B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B12 and K!
- Modern research has linked chronic diseases like obesity, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease to low gut microbiota. Introducing fermented foods on a daily basis helps keep the microbes in your belly energized.
Is this recipe safe? Do I need a starter culture?
Yes, it’s totally safe. No you don’t need a starter culture.
I’ll tell you why.
This recipe is safe because it uses real sea salt, which suffocates and transforms the bacteria that can be harmful into benign bacteria that act as a natural preservative called lactic acid (whew, talk about the cycle of life). Lactic acid generates so much acid that it kills off (and inhibits) the growth of potentially dangerous microbes that might make you sick.
Lactic acid fermentation is what turns cabbage into sauerkraut or kimchi, cucumbers into pickles, and milk into yogurt.
You don’t need a starter culture because they’re exclusively used in the production of cultured dairy products, like buttermilk and sour cream, not vegetables. If you’d like more information check out www.thespruceeats.com/howlactofermentationworks).
Prep your produce
How you choose to prep your veggies for fermentation is completely up to you–grating, chopping, slicing or leaving the whole all work but the finer you break things down, the easier it is for the lactic acid bacteria to penetrate your produce faster and inoculate it with tangy flavors and probiotics.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- For best results, use unchlorinated rather than tap water. Why? Chlorinated water can slow or prevent fermentation.
- And, use iodine free salt for the same reason.
- Note: If you see any mold or smell something foul, I recommend discarding the batch. Yes, I know “some” will say just scoop the stuff off, but this farmgirl don’t play that!
- The key to a successful ferment is that all of the ingredients must be kept under the brine. There are a number of ways to achieve this outside of the method I share. Check out Suitable covers, containers and weights for fermenting foods from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning ” revised 2009 edition for complete options.
Favorite ways to use Mixed Fermented Vegetables
- Salad Topping: Toss several spoonfuls over a hearty garden salad (and ooh, the brine makes an excellent vinaigrette dressing if you stir in some honey dijon mustang and maple syrup or whatever tickles your taste buds)
- Sandwich Condiment: Slide a forkful into a pita sandwich or lunch wrap for extra texture, taste and thank me later!
- Stir Fry Add In: Use as an easy topping to stir-frys or rice bowls
- Fancy Garnish: Add some chopped chunks into salmon, fish, or chicken cakes. It imparts instant flavor and color.
- Guilt Free Snacking: Let this replace your late night salty snack cravings sans guilt. Not bland, not boring, crunchy, tangy, hydrating, yessss!
Probiotic Rich Mixed Fermented Vegetables | Recipe
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups carrots
- 2 cups chopped bell pepper
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- Optional: peppercorns, red chili flakes, celery seed
- 1 quart jar
- Optional: weight
- Place 3-4 smashed garlic cloves in a clean quart sized jar.
- Tightly pack alternating layers of cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and bell peppers into the jar.
- Layer the top of your veggie mix with your choice of preferred herbs.
- Fill the jar with your brine solution, fully submerging all ingredients.
- And, if you have a few veggies poking above your brine, girl that’s annoying, but normal. To fix, you can either weigh the vegetables down under the brine with a weight (link) or make one yourself by filling a sandwich bag with an extra brine solution-in case it punctures and leaks out).
- Secure the jar with a lid, airlock cap, or coffee filter closed with a rubber band and place it in a room temperature location (60-70 degrees) for 6 days. Note: if you are using a tight lid, be sure to burp it (remove a bit of air by lightly unscrewing and retightening your lid)
How will I know when fermentation is complete?
Here’s what to look (and taste) for to know if your vegetables have successfully fermented:
- You’ll see bubbles.
- You’ll taste the tang.
- Your nose will know.
When will it expire?
I recommend using your fermented vegetables mix within 6 months for best taste and flavor. If you’re worried about spoilage just use a pH strip to confirm a pH under 4.6. Why? Botulism can’t make spores under that acidity, so you’re safe!
How will I know if my ferment has gone bad?
Oh, you’ll know! If it smells (beyond the tangy ferment smell, as in a baaaaad smell) dump it out, and most definitely if you notice the following:
- Mold or fuzz
- A mushy texture
- You taste a tiny bit and think “yuck” not “yum”
If your kitchen is a fermentation factory like mine and you have a sourdough starter or cheese nearby, ensure these jars are separated by a few feet because the floating environmental yeast can offset the flavor of your ferment and contribute to a mushy veggie texture.
Craving more fermented recipes as quick and delicious as this one? Thought so. You’re absolutely going to love my other fermented recipes: