My favorite Summer Ferments. Naturally Pickled Tomatoes and Cucumbers (VIDEO)

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salt, pickles, tomato

This lacto-fermentation process creates lacto-fermented veggies that are rich in probiotics and are so good for gut health.

Summer is here, and visiting farms is our favorite thing to do. My children will eat veggies much more happily if they see how they grow and picking them is fun too.

During the summer months many veggies are available at the farmer's market. We double if not triple the consumption of fresh produce. Even though we are taught to eat them year-round, it's in the summer, that we have a special taste for them. Veggies are more fragrant, crispy, and delicious especially during these hot humid months!

Seasonal veggies are just as good as they are or with just a little effort of preparation. Fresh is best, right?

cucumbers and cucumbers

Why old way preserved food is the best way?

fermented cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and onion

I believe that veggies are even better when they are fermented, and yes, so many scientists in these days are saying that by preserving veggies the old way we are not only saving all their vitamins but also elevating them into another level! Yes, it increases the vitamin content for up to 10 times, for example fresh cabbage has 70mg of vitamin C, vs sauerkraut which has 700mg. Isn't that great?


Here are my favorite ferments, check it out:

Cucumber Kimchi, Fermented Cucumbers

Classic traditional kimchi

Sauerkraut (Fermented Cabbage)

Naturally Pickled/Fermented Jalapenos


My story about falling in love with fermentation

It was brined sour cucumber pickles that got me interested in fermentation in the first place. As a kid in Ukraine, I'd frequently enjoyed a pickle as a satisfying after-school snack. The garlic-dill-lactic acid flavor of pickles is something I have always loved and craved.

As soon as I started making sauerkraut and thinking about fermentation, it was only natural that I tried fermenting cucumbers into sour pickles. Then, while in my months of pregnancy, fermented tomatoes became my favorite.

cherry tomatoes in a jar with onion and greens

During this period of my life, I was I'm more than ever craving my childhood comfort foods. It's amazing how much our bodies can let us know what and when we need specific types of nourishment!


Don't be afraid of fermentation!

Even though probiotics became a big deal on the market for the last decade, still many people associate a word of PROBIOTIC with some sort of pill.

Also, so many people believe they need special equipment, or a specific type of environment for fermenting foods. They are afraid of making fermented vegetables for fear they will mess up the process and make themselves sick, which is never the case. I have never heard of any cases!


The United States Department of Agriculture research service microbiologist Fred Breidt says, “Properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E coli on the farm. With fermented products, there is no safety concern."

The reason is the lactic-acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world's best killers of other bacteria.” Breidt works at a lab at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where scientists have been studying fermented and other pickled foods since the 1930s. He adds, “Fermented vegetables, for which there are no documented cases of food borne illness, are safer for novices to make than canning vegetables. Why? Because pressurized canning creates an anaerobic environment that increases the risk of deadly botulism, particularly with low-acid foods. Fermented vegetables are even safer than raw foods due to the probiotics, so eat and ferment away.”


Why are sour pickles the most challenging ferment of all?

Fermenting cucumbers is more challenging than most other vegetable ferments. Cucumbers are extremely watery, and subject to fast decomposition by pectin-digesting enzymes. And while cabbages and radishes typically mature in cool weather, cucumbers grow in heat, which speeds both fermentation and enzymatic digestion. Because of these factors, it is easy to have fermented cucumbers get mushy, which is not pleasing to eat.

cucumbers and horseradish leaf

To keep cucumbers crunchy, I suggest adding a tannin rich plant.

What is tannin, and why is it needed?

tomato cherry and black currant leave cucumber and horseradish leave

Tannin is a substance found naturally in many different plants. Through history, every region on the planet where veggies have been preserved, have used different types of tannin. For instance, even in wine making, tannin plays a crucial role. By adding grape leaves, oak leaves, sour cherry leaves, or even an Earl Grey tea bag will help to keep cucumbers crunchy. In the area of Ukraine where I was raised, my mom always used to add horseradish leaves to cucumbers, and black currants leaves for tomatoes. I would suggest that you add grape leaves, oak leaves, sour cherry leaves, or even an Earl Grey tea bag, whichever you have on hand.

On salt

salt and other spices

Salt is one of the most important elements in fermentation. All ferments start with a good quality salt. I always use either Celtic or Himalayan pink salt in all my cooking.

Make sure your salt does not contain any anti-caking agents. If the salt contains anti-caking agents, they will be listed in the ingredients on the packaging.


Other recipes using ferments

As much I love to eat them out of the jar, they also are used as a big platform of my creations during the preparation of every single meal for my family. I even make use of the pickle juice, which goes into salad dressings, sauces, etc.

fermented cherry tomatoes in a jar

Why Ferments are good for you?

Natural Antioxidants: Natural antioxidants found in cucumbers help in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are formed naturally in the body and can lead to cell damage and promote cancer cell growth. Culturing vegetables preserves their antioxidant power and supplies them with more vitamins and minerals through the magic of fermentation.

Helps Fight Viruses: Your immune system fights pathogens with bacteria and your helper T cells by destroying foreign invaders, especially when they have large numbers of good microbes. Also, you'll get lots of vitamin C that will boost your immune system naturally. These extra microbes do it so effectively that your immune system will become stronger causing sickness to pass quickly.

Helps With Digestion: Having lots of good microbes, as a result of eating fermented foods, can give you not only extra microbes but digestive enzymes that help you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat.

Keeps Candida in Place: All fermented foods can play an important role in rebalancing the gut flora and recovering from gut imbalances such as Candida. They can bring things into balance quickly. Candida yeast cells don't have the room to grow and flourish as these helper microbes crowd them out, keeping them in their proper place. Also, I should add a note of warning here. Consuming a lot of fermented foods can lead to a Herxheimer reaction. What does this mean? As the harmful pathogens die off, they will release toxins that can mimic a yeast infection or even flu symptoms. So, start slowly if you have never eaten ferments!

herbs and onion

Ingredients for tomatoes

4-5 pounds of cherry tomatoes (depending on their size, or as much as can fit into the jar) 1-2 stalks (with or without leaves) 1 onion, sliced 3-4 black currant leaves (optional)

3-4 chili peppers, fresh or dry (optional) 5-6 full teaspoons of Celtic salt 4 cups water (room temperature is fine) 1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds (optional) 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds (optional) 1 teaspoon whole all spice (optional) 1-2 bay leaves (optional) Directions for tomatoes

1. First wash your tomatoes.

2. To the jar, place some onion, basil, black currant leaves, and spices on the bottom. 3. Add 1/3 of your tomatoes (just eyeballing is fine), and then, repeat #2 of the directions. Add again 1/3 of your tomatoes. And repeat one more time with spices and leaves.

4. In a glass with water add salt and stir until the salt dissolves completely. This step is crucial! Pour the salt mixture into the jar with the tomatoes and make sure they are completely covered. If not (in my case in the video) repeat with the salt mixture again and pour over the tomatoes. The jar will take more or less water depending on the size of your tomatoes. 5. Cover with cloth and secure with a rubber band. Place the jar on the counter near a window for 3-5 days.

jars cover with robber band

(Depends on the temperature of your kitchen and your taste preference), I recommend giving it a taste after the 3rd day and if you are satisfied with the taste, place the jar into the refrigerator. Do keep in mind that they will continue to slowly ferment in the fridge. These tomatoes will last for up to 9 months in the refrigerator.

tomatoes in a jar

Enjoy!

spices
cucumbers

Ingredients for cucumbers 4-5 pounds of pickle cucumbers (depending on the size, or as much can fit in the jar) 1-2 dill flowers, fresh or dried (dried dill seeds can be used here) 1 head of garlic (not peeled and cut in a half) 1-2 horseradish leaves

3-4 chili peppers, fresh or dried (optional) 6-7 full teaspoons of Celtic salt 4 cups water (room temperature is fine) 1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds (optional) 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds (optional) 1 teaspoon whole all spice (optional) 1-2 bay leaves (optional) Directions for cucumbers

1. First wash your cucumbers and cut the ends. Cut in half or quarters if you desire.

2. To the jar in the bottom, place some garlic, dill, horseradish leaves, and spices.

3. Add 1/3 of your cucumbers (just eyeballing is fine) and then repeat #2 of the directions. Add again 1/3 of your cucumbers. And repeat one more time with spices and leaves.

4. In a glass with water add salt and stir until the salt dissolves completely. This step is crucial! Pour the salt mixture into the jar with cucumbers, making sure they are completely covered. If not (in my case in the video) repeat with the salt mixture again. It will take more or less water depending on the size of your cucumbers and the way you decided to cut them.

5. Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. Place the jar on the counter near a window for 3-5 days. (Depends on the temperature of your kitchen and your taste preference, half sour or full sour), I recommend giving it a taste after the 3rd day. Remember, it will continue to slowly ferment in the fridge. Once you are satisfied with the taste, place the jar into the refrigerator. These pickles will last for up to 9 months in the refrigerator.

jar covered with robber band
jar with pickles

Enjoy! I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or Pinterest.






pickles in a jar

To keep cucumbers crunchy, I suggest adding a tannin rich plant.


What is tannin, why we need it?

Tannin is a substance found naturally in many different plants. Through the history every region on a planet where veggies have been preserved, used a different one. For instance, even making wine tannin plays a crucial role. By adding grape leaves, oak leaves, sour cherry leaves, or even Earl Grey tea bag will help to keep cucumbers crunchy. In area where I'm from (Ukraine), my mom always used to add horseradish leaves to cucumbers, and black currants leave for tomatoes. I suggest adding grape leaves, oak leaves, sour cherry leaves, or even Earl Grey tea bag, which ever you have on hand.


On a salt

Salt is one of most important elements in fermentation. All ferments start with a good quality salt. I always using a Celtic salt or Himalayan pink salt in all my cooking.

Make sure your salt does not contain any anti-caking agents. If the salt contains anti-caking agents, they will be listed in the ingredients on the packaging.


Other recipe using ferments

As much I love to eat them as it is, they also giving big platform of my creation during preparation a every single meal for my family. If we are not eating them as it is, I'm using a pickle juice for the salad dressings, sauces, etc.


Here are few salads that everyone can do:

Ukraine Root Vegetable Salad with Beets. Vegan

Raw Corn Salad with Fermented Onions, Poblano and Herbs. Vegan

"Birthday Party in a Bowl" - Sauerkraut Salad


Why Ferments are good for you?

Natural Antioxidants, natural antioxidants found in cucumbers help in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are formed naturally in the body and can lead to cell damage and cancer cells promote grows. Culturing vegetables preserve their antioxidant power and supply them with more vitamins and minerals through the magic of fermentation.

Help Fight Viruses, when your immune system fights pathogens with bacteria and your helper T cells. By destroying foreign invaders, especially when they have large numbers of good microbes. Also, you'll get lots of vitamin C that will boost your immune system naturally. These extra microbes do it so effectively that your immune system will become stronger making sickness to pass quickly.

Help With Digestion, having lots of good microbes, as a result of eating fermented foods, can give you not only extra microbes but digestive enzymes that help you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat.

Keeping Candida in place, all fermented foods can play important role in rebalancing the gut flora and recovering from gut imbalances such as Candida. They can bring things into balance quickly. Candida yeast cells don't have the room to grow and flourish as these helper microbes crowd them out, keeping them in their proper place. Also, I should add a note of warning here. Consuming a lot of fermented foods can lead to a Herxheimer reaction. What is mean? As the harmful pathogens die off, they will release toxins that can mimic a yeast infection or even a flu symptom. So, start slowly if you never ate before!


Let's do it...


Prep time: 3 minutes

Making time: 3 minutes

Total time: 6 minutes

Yield: 2 large glasses or 4 kids' size

Author: Inna of innichkachef.com



Equipment

One Gallon Jar or Two half Gallon Jars


FOTO

Ingredients for tomatoes

4-5 pounds of cherry tomatoes (depending on a size, or as much can fit in the jar)

1-2 basil stocks (with or without no leaves)

1 onion, sliced

3-4 black currant leaves

3-4 chili pepper, fresh or dry (optional)

5-6 full teaspoons of Celtic salt

4 cups water (room temperature is fine)

1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds (optional)

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon whole all spice (optional)

1-2 bay leaves (optional)


Directions for tomatoes

1. First wash your tomatoes.

2. To the jar on a bottom place some onion, basil, black currant leaves, and spices.

3. Add 1/3 of your tomatoes (just eyeballing is fine). Then repeat #2 of directions. Add again 1/3 of your tomatoes. And repeat one more time with spices and leaves.

4. In a glass with water add salt, stir until salt dissolves completely, this step is crucial! Pour salt mixture into the jar with tomatoes, make sure its cover completely. If not (in my case in the video) repeat with salt again and pour over tomatoes. Depends on a size of your tomatoes, can take more or less water.

5. Cover with cloth and robber band and place on a conner for 3-5 days near the window. (Depends on temperature of your kitchen and your taste like), I recommend giving it a taste after 3d day. Remember it will be continued slow fermentation in a fridge. Then place the jar into a refrigerate. These tomatoes will last for up to 9 months in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

FOTO


Ingredients for cucumbers

4-5 pounds of pickle cucumbers (depending on a size, or as much can fit in the jar)

1-2 dill flowers, fresh or dry

1 head of garlic (not peeled and cut in a half)

1-2 horseradish leaves

3-4 chili pepper, fresh or dry (optional)

6-7 full teaspoons of Celtic salt

4 cups water (room temperature is fine)

1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds (optional)

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon whole all spice (optional)

1-2 bay leaves (optional)


Directions for cucumbers

1. First wash your cucumbers and cut the ends. Cut in half or quatres if you desire.

2. To the jar on a bottom place some garlic, dill, horseradish leaves, and spices.

3. Add 1/3 of your cucumbers (just eyeballing is fine). Then repeat #2 of directions. Add again 1/3 of your cucumbers. And repeat one more time with spices and leaves.

4. In a glass with water add salt, stir until salt dissolves completely, this step is crucial! Pour salt mixture into the jar with cucumbers, make sure its cover completely. If not (in my case in the video) repeat with salt again and pour over again. Depends on a size of your cucumbers and the way you decided to cut them, can take more or less water.

5. Cover with cloth and robber band and place on a conner for 3-5 days near the window. (Depends on temperature of your kitchen and your taste like, half sour or full sour), I recommend giving it a taste after 3d day. Remember it will be continued slow fermentation in a fridge. Then place the jar into a refrigerate. These pickles will last for up to 9 months in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Foto

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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