In planning your spring garden, keep in mind all the lovely ways to eat fresh vegetables. Lacto-fermentation is one of them and can stretch out your harvest for months without a root cellar.
Although lacto-fermentation is a long term way to store foods, it is set apart from canning and freezing by the fact that it increases the nutritional value of raw vegetables. It can increase B 12 and C vitamin content by around 400 percent. Probiotics come with the health package and the cost is no more than the vegetable, pickling salt, and non chlorinated water. The effort is less than a trip to the grocery store. Canning and freezing have their place, of course, but they both degrade the nutritional quality of fresh food.
My first trip down this lane was Sauerkraut, which I made in the plainest form possible. Shredded cabbage, salt, and water. I made a gallon and it is progressing beautifully.
Today I am making several quarts of carrots. I am opting for tall carrot spears, 1 garlic clove, and two whole Japanese chiles in the first jar. For the brine I am using 2 T pickling salt dissolved in 2 cups of non chlorinated water. I put the garlic clove on the bottom, stood the spears up like soldiers, and slipped the Japanese chile peppers in on the side so I could see them and know the flavor. I poured the brine over everything. Of course the carrots float up just as we do when we swim in the ocean.
The most important thing is to keep the vegetables from floating up into the air, so I am placing a cabbage leaf on the top and tucking it in firmly to hold the carrots down. It looks funny but is holding.
I will let this ferment in a cool spot between 45 and 60 degrees. Slower, but but makes a nice product.
My second jar is exactly the same, except I sliced a small piece of ginger root into the bottom before filling instead of garlic and chile.
My third quart has a slice of onion and large sprig of fresh Greek Oregano from my indoor garden inside.
I’ll see how these three quarts of lactofermentation carrots work and let you know. Fresh food or preserved? With the addition of Probiotics and easy digestion plus taste, it’s good no matter how you call it.