Cultured Vegetables: Pickled Turnips and Beets, and Pickled Brussels Sprouts (gluten free, raw, vegan, ACD)

I've been meaning to post this recipe for months!  After having my

"Let's Make Sauerkraut" party

, I tried out a few different recipes for raw cultured vegetables.  This is the one I have been most happy with, so I want to share it.  I absolutely adore both turnips and beets in all forms, and this recipe is a great way to use them together; it is from Sally Fallon's

Nourishing Traditions

.  I made these about 2 months ago, and they keep getting more and more delicious as time goes on.  Slightly sweet and a little bitey, I like to eat them on salads, spooned over chicken or fish, or added to miso soup.  But the best part, by far and away, is the beautiful, ruby red color!

Naturally cultured, or lacto-fermented, vegetables are full of good

lactobacilli

bacteria and enzymes that can help restore proper gut flora, increasing immune system function and regulating digestion. The best part about naturally fermenting vegetables is that they are totally vinegar free.  The yeasts in many vinegars, especially white vinegar, can cause problems for individuals who are yeast sensitive or have overgrowth conditions.  While fermenting things naturally facilitaties the growth of yeasts, they are different yeasts that are better-tolerated and can actually help restore proper bacterial balances in the body.  Yeast-sensitive individuals and people with overgrowth conditions can often tolerate lacto-fermented vegetables in moderation; in fact, they make up an integral part of the diet in

The Body Ecology Diet

, a whole-foods, low sugar, healing diet plan that is suggested for people with Candida and other yeast conditions, digestive issues, allergies, intolerances, etc. 

These days it is easy to find raw sauerkrauts and pickled vegetables at co-ops and natural markets, but they are often expensive.  Making them yourself is cheap and easy.  Vinegar and special equipment isn't necessary to "pickle" your vegetables - all you need is salt, water, some glass jars, and the naturally occurring lactic-acids present in fruits and vegetables.  When prepared properly and left at room temperature, your vegetables will do all the work themselves, and soon enough, you will have a batch of naturally fermented goodness.  Cultured vegetables get better with age, and will store for up to 8 months when kept in the refrigerator. 

I did not use whey as Sally's original recipe called for; instead, I used an additional sea salt, as she recommends, and as the recipes reflect below.   Ideally, 72* F is the perfect fermentation temperature.  So, if your room is colder, it may take more time for your vegetables to ferment.  Conversely, if your room is hotter, your vegetables may ferment more quickly.  Donna Gates, the Body Ecology Diet woman, suggests wrapping the jars in a towel, and placing in an insulated cooler or chest, so that they say at a warmer temperature.  When I made this recipe, my apartment was about 67* F, so I let mine sit out on the counter for about 4 1/2 days before putting the refrigerator.  Use your best judgement!  

VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED TURNIPS AND BEETS (gluten free, raw, vegan)

from Sally Fallon's

Nourishing Traditions

yield

: 1 qt (32 oz/4 cups)

2 1/2 c turnips, peeled, quartered, and sliced

3/4 c beets, peeled, quartered, and sliced

1 medium onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced

2 T sea salt

1 cup filtered water

optional:

1-2 T caraway seeds 

  1. Mix vegetables and place in a quart-size, wide mouth mason jar, or two wide-mouth pint jars, layering with seeds, if using.
  2. Press vegetables and seeds into jar firmly with a cup/pounder/fist/etc.
  3. Mix water with salt and pour over vegetables, adding more water if necessary to cover the turnip mixture.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. 
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  While jars are sitting out at room temperature, place in a bowl or tin of some kind so drips/leaks do not get on your countertop.

MOVING ON TO BRUSSELS SPROUTS...

Then, earlier today, after finding a beautiful bag of Brussels sprouts at the grocery store, decided I needed to take on another fermentation project. I really like Brussels sprouts, and thought they would be very tasty pickled - they are basically little cabbages, so why not?  So, I sliced the Brussels sprouts in half, added some thinly sliced Vidalia onion, and chose to split batch between two pint jars, spicing  each differently. One batch is Indian-spiced with coriander, mustard, fenugreek, and turmeric - I'm looking forward to having bright yellow brussels sprouts! The other is spiced with black peppercorns, allspice, fennel, and tarragon. These jars are currently sitting on my counter, fermenting away - I hope they turn out well!  I'd love for you to try making a batch too, and let me know how yours are progressing so we can compare notes!  I'm thinking I"ll let mine sit out for about 4 days again, but only time will tell...

VINEGAR-FREE, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLED BRUSSELS SPROUTS: TWO VERSIONS (raw, gluten free, vegan)

yield: 32 oz (1 qt/4 cups)

1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, and sliced in half

1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced

1 c filtered water

2 T sea salt

optional herbs/spices of choice (each recipe below will season a 1 pt/16 oz jar - double if making for entire batch):

Indian mix:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 T brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 T coriander seeds

Dry toast mustard, fenugreek, and coriander seeds in saucepan until seeds start to pop.  Mix with turmeric in a small bowl, and add to jar with vegetables. 

Savory herb, seed, and spice mix:

  • 1 T dry tarragon
  • 1/2 t black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 T whole allspice

Mix ingredients in a small bowl and add to jar with vegetables.

  1. Mix vegetables and place in a quart-size, wide mouth mason jar, or two wide-mouth pint jars, layering with herbs/spices.
  2. Press vegetables and herbs/spices down into jar firmly with a cup/pounder/fist/etc.
  3. Mix water with salt and pour over vegetables, adding more water if necessary to cover the turnip mixture.  The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. 
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  While jars are sitting out at room temperature, place in a bowl or tin of some kind so drips/leaks do not get on your countertop.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS UPDATE!

5/22/09

In classic Minnesota style, it went from a wind chill of 36* F last week Saturday morning to 97* F on Tuesday afternoon.  So, that led to my Brussels sprouts fermenting at a good rate, because my apartment got nice and warm.  The tops of my jars started to puff up, and I heard the jars sputtering and making funny sounds.  That's a good sign, man, good sign.  I let the Indian spiced batch sit for 3 days, and the savory herb and spice batch sit for about 3 1/2.  

I tried both right away, and they are super flavorful, slightly sour (in a good way!) and salty salty salty.  When I opened them, they fizzed a little bit - I'd recommend opening over a bowl or the sink.  The Indian-spiced is strongly flavored with turmeric, and the fenugreek really comes through, adding a sweet, mapley flavor.  The herb and spice batch is strongly flavored of tarragon, which combines very well with the allspice - it is a fragrant, sweet tasting combination.  And while both batches are really delicious now, but after they sit in the fridge for a while, I think they will be stellar.  They've been hanging out now in my fridge for a couple days, and I'm excited to try them again.  

This recipe comes highly recommended!