This is a fast, easy and delicious way of fermenting veg and and much cheaper than shop-bought. The spices are entirely optional, you can leave them out if you don’t like the flavours.
1 Medium beetroot
1 Red cabbage
1 Green apple
1 Red onion
1 tsp Shredded ginger
1 Red chilli
1 Star anise
4 Juniper berries or 4 allspice berries
4 Black pepper corns
1 Cinnamon stick
2 tsps Sea salt - you want your mix to taste pleasantly salty, so taste as you go
1 capsule of probiotic bacteria (optional)
3 tsps Lemon juice
You will need a glass jar large enough to hold the shredded veg. A kilner jar is perfect for this as well as a weight to hold the vegetables under the brine. You can use a rolled up outer leaf of the cabbage, or the cabbage core for this.
Shred your cabbage, apple, red onion, and beetroot. Set the beetroot aside.
Combine the apple, cabbage and onion and add the sea salt in a large bowl that will give you room to rub the veg together. Being quite forceful, massage the salt into the vegetables until you begin to draw out the salty brine. You need this brine to be able to preserve the vegetables. Massage and crush them together till you get a good amount of liquid out and then stir in the beetroot, lemon juice and spices and contents of the probiotic capsule, if using.
Pack the shredded vegetables into a sterile jar making sure to really push them down and eliminate any air pockets - a potato masher is good here. Pour over the brine, making sure the vegetables are submerged.
Leave for at least a week in a spot with stable temperatures - not near your stove or central heating. The ferment will grow increasingly sour but the salt will keep the veggies crisp. You will need to “burb” the ferment occasionally, which is easier with a kilner jar. If you have a screw top keep an eye on it and unscrew the lid every few days to let the CO2 out.
You can eat this as soon as two weeks, depending on the ambient temperature - the warmer your home, the faster the ferment. Die-hard sour fermented veggie fans will prefer anything up to 3 months of fermentation. Once it is at the sourness you prefer, transfer your jar to the fridge where the fermentation process will all but stop.
A note on brine: vegetables begin to dehydrate once they are cut and you might find that you are having trouble getting enough brine out of them. Also, if the weather has been dry the veggies might have less juice in them. Firstly try being a bit rougher with them, sometimes we have to squeeze the veggies and really massage the salt through them and break them down more than we expect. If you still do not have enough brine, make up some extra to cover your veggies:
10% brine for home fermented veggies
500ml of cooled boiled water
2 tsp sea salt (10g)
Dissolve the sea salt into the water and use to top up the veggies. Submerge the veggies with a big cabbage core or maybe a jar lid that will sit inside your kilner jar. Some people use a washed stone from the beach or the garden and commercial crock weights are also available.