My daughter in law, Jennifer McLaughlin, nutritionist, and font of practical information taught me how to do this. Our grandchildren, who are 4 and 6 years old, can do a decent job of fermenting with a little help.
Fermenting veggies is a great way to get probiotics into your body. Many people also love their taste. Fermenting is easier than canning and probably preserves without destroying as much nutritionally as canning does. It is said to actually increase the bioavailability of minerals. It actually increases the amount of digestive enzymes, and certainly adds to the good bacteria in your gut to aid in digestion and heal gut problems. It can help to correct dysbiosis, an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut.
Thus far I have tried onions, onions with herbs, salsa (tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro), peppers, cucumbers, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cabbage (red and green), and sweet potatoes plus various combinations of the same list. i have added various herbs, onions, and garlic for seasoning. The only ones which I have not liked were the ones that I added jalapenos to. But, spicy is not really my thing.
Here are the simple directions:
Wash your hands and the quart canning jars and lids thoroughly. Wide mouth jars are easier to press the veggies down into the jars so they are preferable. Wash the veggies you intend to ferment very well. Cut out all bad spots.
Cut into bite size pieces then fill the canning jar, pushing the veggies down to press out any air spaces. Fill the jar to below the lip with the cut up vegetables.
In another jar add 3 tablespoons of real salt ( salt with other minerals in it) or you can use any salt if you prefer. Mix well with 1 quart of dechlorinated water (water that has been sitting out for 24 hours or has been filtered to get the chorine out). If you use chlorinated water it kills the good bacteria which you are trying to grow to preserve the vegetables.
Add the salt water to the vegetables in the jar to the level that they are all covered but the water remains just below the neck of the jar. Wipe the top of the jar with a paper towel and put a metal canning lid on tightly.
Place the jar in a warm but not hot space which is not in direct sunlight. Let this ferment for 3 to 5 days to the taste that you prefer. The longer it ferments, the more acid it becomes. If the lid starts to get extremely bowed, you may burp it. I recommend doing this over the sink as it bubbles up. Don’t do this often as it slows the fermenting process. When the ferment reaches the point that you like then store it in the frig and eat it. The ferments must be stored in a very cool space.
Start slowly in eating these as your body needs to adapt to it. You may get diarrhea otherwise. I have also noticed that if I eat a lot of fermented veggies, I get very vivid and sometimes unpleasant dreams. So let your body adjust gradually. Good health!