The health benefits of fermented and pickled foods are undeniable. It’s fairly intuitive that your gut health is affected by intestinal flora, but did you know that an imbalance in your stomach can also cause issues with your immune and nervous systems?
Humans have the same amount of neurotransmitters in our stomachs as we do in our brains. There are also 10 times more gut bacteria than the number of cells in our entire body.
So, here's the deal, the naturally occurring probiotics in unpasteurized fermented foods can help rebalance your good bacteria and eliminate bloat, discomfort, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue and more.
So, let's get pickling! This is a great time of year to start pickling for the winter.
We think all veggies taste great pickled, but go for items that are not starting to get soft or wilt and your end product will have a greater crunch. We love carrots, beets, green beans and cucumber. We even pickle chickpeas. And, hard boiled eggs and thick cut bacon pickled together is a mind blowing experience. We promise!
Removing stems and ends before pickling is key as the enzymes in both can lead to mushy outcomes.
Also, rinse all of your vegetables with cold water to make sure they are clean first. We get most everything from farms, so there's always plenty of dirt <3
Brine For Pickling
Without a proper brine your vegetables will never become pickled. Having the proper ratio of vinegar, salt, sugar, and water is essential.
This ratio is a great standard for most anything you would like to pickle: 2 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, up to 1/4 cup spices (e.g., peppercorns, coriander seeds, and/or mustard seeds), and 4 cups water.
Bring these ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over vegetables in jars. Wipe dry and put lids on tightly.
*Depending on the size of your jars, you may need more or less of the brine. You can always leave the excess in the fridge and use later.
- You can mix your vinegars! Don't be afraid to use a combination of a couple.
- We use maple syrup or organic cane sugar.
- We prefer kosher salt as it is flat and dissolves easily.
- Add fresh herbs, fennel, ginger and whole garlic to add more flavor.
- Add dried spices for a long-lasting boost and a little heat: mustard seeds, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, etc.
- Make certain your jars/lids are sanitized.
- Make sure you are filling well and do not leave too much room for air.
- Use raw vegetables (not cooked) and things will stay crisp.
This post was written by Kelly Bailey Newlon, co-founder of Real Athlete Diets. RAD creates delicious performance-oriented food and brings it to you. Using the best ingredients is paramount to RAD. It uses locally grown, organic produce and protein to feed its clients. If you are lucky enough to live in Boulder, CO you can order individual meals from RAD via its website. You can also find RAD traveling around the country to feed folks at races, athlete camps, clinics and workshops.