DIY Fermented Veggies; a Dilly of a Pickle On How This Garnish is Actually Healthy
Join voxie in understanding how these wonderful splashes of flavour in your favourite sandwich, curry or stir fry are actually great for your gut as well as on your palette.
Pile on these fragrant toppers and learn how to make them at home, for health.
Pickles, Probiotics, and Your Gut
Pickles are more than a delicious side for your sandwich, and we know there are die hard pickle lovers who will ONLY have their sandwich with THIER fav pickle. Eaten as a quick-grab snack, pickles are actually a good source of probiotics.
Commonly made out of fermented cucumbers rich in vitamins K and A which improve a person’s blood calcium level and vision, respectively. Good news!
There are two methods of 'pickling', commercially pickles, or the 'quick pickle' often use vinegar and heat and the second method is called lacto-fermentation. Both processes will be showcased later in the post, with the second option being a more healthful in the amount of probiotics the process produces but however, takes more time.
This fermented food generally enhances the immune and digestive system. It is a low-fat and low-calorie snack yet full of vital nutrients. Tasty and good for you, we are betting that this is the best damn garnish EVER.
Benefits of Pickles and Other Fermented Foods
1. Provide Natural Oxidants. Like any other fruits and vegetables, pickles are a really good source of natural antioxidants. Unlike cooking or heating that breaks down some of the nutrients, the process of fermentation actually boosts and preserve the vegetable’s antioxidant properties that counteracts free radicals. Free radicals are linked to skin-aging as well as other serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, dementia, etc.
2. Control Blood Sugar. Since pickles are made out of vinegar or brine which can
regul ate a person’s glucose level, drinking pickle juice is beneficial to control one’s blood
sugar. Simultaneously, it can be used as an alternative to other unhealthy beverages
that usually increase blood sugar level.
3. Ease Muscle Cramps. Snacking on pickles or drinking pickle juice right after hitting the
gym is one way to soothe muscle cramps. The combined soothing effect of vinegar alone and the electrolytes produced by sodium solution or brine provides relief in muscle soreness or cramps.
4. Rich in Probiotics. Fermented foods like pickles are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are
simply put as live microorganisms or good bacteria that primarily help improve the digestive system. Since it balances the bacteria in the gut, both good and bad, it also prevents a person from IBS and/or bloating.
Probiotics do not limit its effect on the gut alone, but it is also highly beneficial to the
heart, skin, and mental health condition. The link here is also great for picklers who are adverse to vinegar.
5. Boost Hydration. Dehydration is caused by lack or loss of body fluids. In this case, more water is released from the body than the water intake through drinking. By eating pickles or drinking pickle juice in moderation, a person can gain natural electrolytes which can replenish lost minerals and boost hydration.
After knowing all these health benefits that pickles and other fermented foods provide, it is probably a good idea to have a readily available stock at home for an accessible daily nutritional intake. Good thing is it can be easily done at home which is way less costly and quick and easy to make.
Now that we have the time, and are starting our gardens, voxie offers up some suggestions of how to get into this pickle extravaganza!
What Vegetables Can You Pickle and How Can You DIY
Cucumber is the most classic pickled vegetable. There are three varieties of cucumber— slicing, pickling, and seedless. Pickling, specifically Kirby cucumber (the cute little one), is typically the one used in making pickles. This variety of pickle is firm and short and its skin is thick enough to still remain crisp even after being submerged in vinegar or brine solution for too long.
To pickle cucumber, it’s normally sliced vertically in half. Others would prefer slicing these horizontally, making thin rounds which are perfect as sandwich garnish. Lastly, pour over the vinegar or brine solution into a jar full of sliced cucumber and it’s ready to be stored.
The best way to pickle an eggplant is by removing its moisture by initially tossing some salt in it. Afterwards, peel and slice them accordingly which will then be submerge in a vinegar or brine solution.
Pickled eggplant may be garnished with some chili flakes or dried garlic for added crunch and flavours.
Red Onion is another popular vegetable to pickle next to cucumbers. This is mostly used as garnish to sandwiches, tacos, or toasts because of the onion’s natural strong flavour. To pickle an onion, simmer brine mixture into a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Once boiled, pour over the mixture into the sliced red onions. Let it sit for awhile until it’s ready to be stored in a jar.
Cabbage or Sauerkraut - vinegar free
Sauerkraut is made with thinly sliced cabbage that is directly salted to produce its own brine and happens just fine without vinegar. The salt in your ferment provides the ideal environment for the growth of lactic acid bacteria. Adding vinegar upsets the beautiful and natural balance of acids in your fermenting pickles.
Making DIY pickles is definitely as easy as it sounds. On average, it only takes 10-15 minutes, depending on the amount of vegetables to be pickled. The joy and flavour this garnish brings to meals of all types and cuisine, is almost as wonderful as health benefits.
Kimchi. A Korean fermented side dish mostly made out of cabbage and seasoned with chili, salt, and vinegar. Kombucha. Fermented green or black tea, commonly known as Tea Mushroom. Natto. A Japanese dish whose primary ingredients are fermented soybean, raw egg, and rice.
We are looking forward to the growing season and new way to introduce more veggies into our diet. That the pack a punch of flavour and ways to excite our tastebuds in so many ways, makes these pickles the best 'dill' out there.
Monica Polo | Monica Polo is Co-Founder and COO of Voxie. As a practicing interior designer (BID) and a Materials Health and Wellness educator, Monica brings current and relevant practices on how to holistically design a healthier world. This allows her readers, students and clients, to own their own wellness and move toward positive change, at their pace. As a social activist, she weaves the Burning Man, 10 principles into her personal wellness philosophy through her work at the Design Center, at RSID. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her two sons.