Like I've discussed what feels like a million times by now, getting all of the "biotics" in (pre, pro, and post) is the best way you can improve your gut health.
A quick review- probiotics are the friendly gut bacteria that take up residence in your gut.
You want these bacteria to be happy, well fed (thanks prebiotics), and abundant. When you have a ton (we're talking a TON- like trillions) of probiotic bacteria in your gut, your body will work better. Improved digestion, healthy weight, improved brain function, quality sleep, stable energy, clearer skin, healthy hair and nails, and healing from chronic diseases are all benefits to a healthy gut, full of probiotic bacteria.
The best way to get a gut full of healthy probiotics is to~
Take a high quality probiotic supplement.
Eat fermented food.
My second favorite fermented food to consume regularly to support gut health is brined veggies. (My first favorite is sauerkraut. It will always be my numero uno because I heart it.)
I like brined veggies better than other fermented foods because they have no downside. They are straight up just veggies, water, and salt that naturally do all the fermenting on their own, keeping all the fiber goodness intact, without any added ingredients that have a downside.
Kombucha is fermented, however it needs LOTS sugar to go through the fermentation process. Yogurt can be healthy but, in the US, most of what we see on the shelf is full of sugar or has such a long processing journey that the probiotics in it are minimal. I LOVE pickles, but the most common pickles contain vinegar. Companies bypass a lot of the fermentation process by using vinegar (to make production faster), leaving you with very little probiotic bacteria.
That is why brined veggies that are fermented by you over the course of a week are one of the best options when trying to diversify your fermented foods intake.
Today, I go through my process for making brined veggies with just carrots, salt, water, and caraway seeds. Click on the picture below to watch the video, or keep reading for the step-by-step guide!
How-To Make Brined Veggies
Ingredients and Supplies
32 oz Mason Jar with lid (can use a different size, just adjust veggies/water/salt accordingly)
2 cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons sea salt (If making a larger/smaller batch, you want 1 tablespoon per 1 cup water)
2-3 cups favorite veggies lightly washed and chopped- Carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, radishes, cucumbers, peppers and green beans are all good options.
2 tablespoons of favorite herb or spice- Caraway seeds, dill seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorn, garlic, dill, and ginger are all nice.
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, carefully place the mason jar, without its lid, in the pot. Turn heat down to simmer and let sit for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, using tongs, dip the lid in the water for a few seconds and remove. Turn off the heat, remove the jar, and let it sit on the counter until it is cool. This process is sanitizing the jar which is important for food fermentation.
While the jar is simmering, lightly wash and chop your veggies according to the size you want to eat them. Do not peel them.
In a medium bowl, combine water and salt. Whisk water until salt has dissolved.
When the jar is cool, place any spices/herbs you want to use in the jar. Stuff the jar with your veggies, leaving about 1 inch space at the top.
Pour the salt water into the jar so the veggies are completely submerged. This is really important. You want all of the veggies under the water so they don't mold. Place the lid on the jar and make sure it is tightly closed.
Store jar in a cool, dark place on top of a plate or tray that has a rim. You might have some activity in the jar that creates a small amount of dripping from the jar.
On day two, take the jar over your sink and "burp" the jar. Just untwist the lid and let the air out. You might have some bubbly water spill over, which is why you do this over the sink. Once the water has settled, check water level. If all veggies aren't under water, add a little filtered water so they are totally submerged again. Place the lid back on tight and return to the cool, dark spot.
In 6-8 days, open the jar over the sink. Take a veggie out, taste, and if you like it, it's ready! Place it in the fridge and eat from it whenever. If you want it to have even more flavor, replace the lid and put it back in it's spot for up to another week.
*Note: Your veggies and jar should not have any mold. If you see mold or it tastes funny, something went wrong in the process and you want to start again. I have had batches of pickles that I made all at the same time, exactly the same way, but one jar turns our funky and the other are fine. It's part of the process.
Let me know how your brined veggies turn out by commenting below!
Naturally gluten free and vegan.