Clever girl that I am, I finally figured out how to access the marinara-style cultured veggie recipe again.
Actually, my cleverness has nothing to do with you now having access to this delicious recipe. My darling husband revealed to me the wonders of viewing a “cached” version of GoHealthGirl’s currently non-functioning blog. Exactly what “cached” means, I don’t know. But it works! So thank you, honey.
Anyway, I have tried three kinds of cultured vegetables so far. I bought kimchi at my local farmers’ market, and that was pretty awesome. At home, I prepared a cabbage-carrot-ginger variety and the following marinara style veggies. All have been delicious, but I think that if you’re new to cultured veggies, the marinara style ones would be a good first choice. The flavors are more familiar to most of us, and the sweetness of the carrots and beets helps to mellow the sourness of the fermentation process.
So, if you’re ready for more vibrant health, go buy yourself a set of quart-sized mason jars, pull out your food processor, and let’s get started. Cultured vegetables will add valuable probiotics and enzymes to your body, which will improve your digestion and absorption, help stamp out Candida, and boost your immune system. In addition, these fermented foods curb cravings for sweets. Do you really need any more incentives to give this superfood a try?
For your first foray into cultured veggies, you should probably plan to spend 2 to 2.5 hours on the project, although the process goes much faster with practice. Also consider doubling or tripling the recipe below. As long as you’re at it, you might as well make a big batch.
Marinara Style Cultured Vegetables
(slightly adapted from GoHealthGirl’s version)
2 pounds organic carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
1 pound organic beets (weighed without the stems and leaves), peeled and trimmed
2 medium onions, peeled
1 head of garlic, all cloves peeled
2 shallots, peeled
1 or 2 handfuls fresh basil, washed and drained
1 large handful fresh oregano, washed and drained
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
several leaves of cabbage, washed
Body Ecology culture starter (optional)
3 or 4 mason jars (1 quart each)
good vegetables knives
1 very large stainless steel bowl
1 small bowl and some honey for the culture starter, if using
1 large pot of boiling water, optional (for sterilizing all equipment)
1 apron (trust me on this!)
several clean kitchen towels
Step 1: Gather all equipment and vegetables before starting the process. This will save you a lot of time, as well as red and orange vegetable juice dribbled all over your kitchen floor.
Step 2: If you wish, sterilize your equipment (not the food) by bringing water to a boil in a large pot, then using long tongs to dip each piece into the water. Set aside everything on a clean towel for the water to evaporate. (I’m not sure how necessary this step is. Although the Body Ecology group insists it’s important, people have been culturing vegetables and other foods all over the world for centuries without sterilization. The last time I made cultured veggies, I didn’t observe this practice, and nobody died. Nevertheless, it’s probably a good idea. If you choose to include this step, start heating the water before you begin gathering everything else, because it can take a long time to bring water to a boil.)
Step 3: If you wish, add a packet of the Body Ecology culture starter to tepid water and a little bit of honey in the small bowl, following package directions. Set aside while the bacteria begin to multiply. This step is optional but highly recommended, particularly if this is your first time preparing cultured vegetables.
Step 4: Cut the carrots and beets into large pieces and feed into your food processor with the grater/shredder attachment. Put the shredded veggies in the stainless steel bowl.
Step 5: Switch the food processor attachment to a normal rotating blade and, in batches, finely mince the onions, garlic cloves, shallots, basil, and oregano. Add to the shredded veggies, toss in the dried marjoram, and combine well.
Step 6: Take out a couple of handfuls of the veggie mixture and put it in the blender with some distilled water. Puree the mixture to form a brine. Add the culture starter, if using, to the brine and mix well. Pour into the bowl of vegetables and combine.
Step 7: Tightly pack the vegetables into the mason jars, leaving at least 2 inches of space at the top of the jars. Dip the cabbage leaves into some brine, roll them, and wedge them into the jars to force the shredded veggies below the surface of the brine. Twist the lids onto the jars very tightly.
Step 8: Set the jars in a dark place at room temperature for 7 days, undisturbed. At the end of this time, wipe off the jars (some seepage or foaming may have occurred) and place in the refrigerator. The vegetables are ready for eating at this point, although they will continue to improve over time. They will keep for many, many months.
That’s it! Now all you have to do is eat them every day–hopefully 2 or 3 times a day.
NOTE: If you choose to double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe, you do NOT need to use multiple packets of the Body Ecology culture starter. Just one will suffice.