If you have never had fermented vegetables, you don’t know what you are missing. I have a Harsch Crock and love to use it to make things like sauerkraut, and other types of fermented vegetables. The Harsch Crock is from Eastern Europe and my wife loves it. Once you put the veggies in the crock and put the lid on you fill a gutter with water and that seals the crock and keeps the odors down. My wife likes the finished product but not the smells it gives off while being made.
What actually occurs is Lacto-fermentation. Bacteria are responsible for lacto-fermentation. The “lacto” portion of the term refers to the Lactobacillus bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria have the ability to convert sugars into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Foods preserved this way and not subjected to heat are a good probiotic.
There are only three ingredients necessary to ferment vegetables, vegetable, salt, and water. I have done it using all types of salt without any problems. However, some sources claim that iodized salt inhibits the beneficial bacteria in a cultured vegetable.
Here are links to prior post containing more information and recipes
- Which Fermenting Crock is Best for You?
- A Fermenting Crock Helps you Make sauerkraut and Preserve Vegetables
- Fermented Vegetables are Easy to Make and to Store
The finished foods can normally be stored in brine for several months as long as the vegetables are kept covered in brine and they are kept cool. The biggest concern with fermented vegetables is contamination after the foods have been fermented. This includes handling them with unclean hands, or letting them come into contact with contaminated meat or fish or with surfaces that haven’t been adequately cleaned. Remember if it smells rotten it probably is.
Personally, if I store fermented vegetables for long periods I water bath can them. This does subject them to heat which kills some of the probiotic action, but I know they will be safe to eat.
Now I am no food safety expert, but this is the way I have been doing it and I have not had any problems. However I expect you to do this at your own risk.