Vegetable Culture Starter
Make Sauerkraut, Kimchi , Fermented foods !
Now there is a culture you may use for vegetables, whipped butter and sour cream. Turn your favorite vegetables or cream into a probiotic food. Cultured vegetables are easier to digest than raw or even cooked vegetables.
Cultured vegetables are easier to digest than raw or even cooked vegetables.
Cultured Vegetables are made by shredding cabbage or a combination of cabbage and other vegetables, packing them tightly into an air-tight container, and leaving them at room temperature to ferment for 3-6 days. In cooler homes it may take longer. During the fermentation process the friendly bacteria grow, multiply, and thrive in their new environment. They convert the sugars and starches to lactic acid and partially digest the veggies they are given. Once they have done their job you simply place the culture in the refrigerator, which will slow down their activity. Though the cold will slow down the fermentation process, it will not stop it completely. The quick growth of lacto-bacteria and the acidic environment they create will cause other bacteria to be eliminated and not survive, greatly increasing the “shelf life.” of those raw vegetables. Interestingly, the culture actually becomes more delicious as the time goes by.
Cultured Vegetables are the perfect compliment to meats. The culture will not spoil and should keep for at least 8 months once cooled.
How to use the Culture Starter in Cream:
Use to make cultured whipped butter and sour cream. One pint of organic heavy cream makes about ½ pound of butter and 1 cup of buttermilk.
Add one foil starter packet to one pint of pure, organic cream. Shake or whisk together well.
Let cream/starter sit for approximately 24 hours at room temperature. Cream will be very thick.
Shake well again.
Flavor as desired.
Two special things to know from the beginning are that cultured or sour cream butter churns more quickly than unfermented, sweet cream butter but still may take as long as 30 minutes to churn. It churns more quickly if it has been “aged” (left in the sour cream state) for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Cultured butter has a richer taste than sweet cream butter. And secondly be sure to chill the mixing bowl, electric beater and the sour cream before you begin making your butter.
Whip or “churn” the cream to make the best tasting whipped butter you’ve ever tasted.
You can use a hand held electric mixer. Butter can also be made by shaking the cream in a covered glass jar. Churn slowly at first and then gradually go up to high speed. You will see the cream go through three stages: whipped cream, stiff whipped cream, and finally two separate products: buttermilk and butter. During this last stage as the butter separates from the buttermilk, pay careful attention and turn the speed to low or it will splatter wildly. Pour off the buttermilk and use it later in cooking or to drink. Add very cold water to the butter, churn slowly for 1 minute and then pour off the water. Remove the butter with a wooden spoon, and sprinkle with sea salt and if you want other herbs or seasonings. You can flavor the butter with garlic, herbs, sea salt or even stevia.
To culture vegetables:
This recipe yields 2 quarts of cultured vegetables.
- Method 1
- Place 2 cups of shredded cabbage into a blender with enough water to make a puree.
- Add cultured vegetable starter to the puree and let sit for 15 minutes. (Starter will become active.)
- Place cabbage culture into jar of canister along with the rest of the green or red cabbage head cut into sections, and 1/2 cup or shredded hard root vegetables such as beets, carrot, daikon, sweet potatoes etc (optional). Pack down well with your fist. Leave about 2 inches of room on top for expansion. Seal jar with airtight lid and place in a room temperature darkened corner until fermented. This will be from 3 to 7 days or perhaps longer. (Some have left it for as long as 14 days.) A layer of harmless mold will often form on the top. Simply scrape this off or it will spoil the flavor of your cultured vegetables. Place your vegetables into an airtight container and refrigerate. The fermentation process will continue, but very slowly. Over time they will “age” like wine does becoming softer and even more delicious. Refrigerated, cultured vegetables keep for up to eight months.
- Method 2
- Dissolve 1 or 2 packages of starter culture in 1/2 cup warm (90° F) water. Add some form of sugar to feed the starter (try Rapadura, Sucanat, honey, agave, etc) Let starter/sugar mixture sit for about 20 minutes or longer while the L. Plantarum and the other bacteria wake up and begin enjoying the sugar. Add this starter culture to the brine (step 3 above.) This procedure takes the place of the first two steps of method 1 above. You do not need to worry about the sugar added here if you are on a sugar free diet because the bacteria will utilize these sugars and use them all up as they begin to grow and “culture” your vegetables.
Wash all vegetables well before using, and remove all outer leaves from the cabbage prior to grating or cutting. If desired, you might want to add one teaspoon of mineral-rich natural sugar to the cultured puree. The bacteria will feed off of the sugar and the end product will not be high in carbohydrates.
You may have tasted some very fine cultured vegetables. You may add other vegetables like asparagus, green beans, or spinach. Once you have experimented, you will get bolder and bolder. Try dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collards. Soak, drain and chop up ocean vegetables like dulse, wakame, hijikii and arame. Add either fresh or dried herbs such as dill, caraway, juniper berries, onion, ginger root or others.
Try this recipe:
- 3 Cabbages, 3 inches of ginger, 6 carrots, and 6 cloves of garlic. It is one of our customers favorites.
- Try kohlrabi, celery, garlic, ginger, and a green apple in a cultured vegetable salad. I have heard it is delicious.
- Once you have recipes you like, make large amounts. You can take these living salads with you when you travel because they keep so well. You can pull one out of your fridge whenever you are hungry as your delicious “fast food” that requires little or no prep work. And they keep a very, very long time. They are one of the best and most economical foods you can eat. Be sure to serve them when you have food that takes more work to digest.
Carol E. Benoit, D.O.
- Cabbage, preferably home-grown or organic, shredded (sufficient to fill your container(s)). Save a few of the outer leaves to cover the fermenting kraut.
Onions, peeled and diced
Garlic cloves, peeled (can crush, mince, or leave whole)
Additional vegetables, if desired; I like a small amount of Sweet Potato, julienned;
Dried Seaweeds, especially Wakame and Kombu, cut into strips
Ginger Root, diced or in small julienne strips (this retains its flavor well and is a bit hot.)
Berries and Seeds: Juniper, Dill, Caraway, Fennel, Fenugreek (this may sprout during fermentation!), etc. The seeds add a burst of flavor.
- 1 packet Vegetable Starter (from Wilderness Family Naturals), or Kefir (1/4 liter for 7.5 liters of
Several Cabbage leaves (to feed starter)
Sea Salt (I use 5 tsp to make 7.5 liters of kraut)
1 oz Muscovado Sugar (to feed starter)
Water sufficient to blend all the Liquid ingredients; fill the blender for a large batch of kraut.
Prepare shredded cabbage, onions, garlic, additional vegetables, seaweeds, ginger root and any other small vegetables, each in their own separate bowl, and the berries and seeds together in a bowl. Layer all ingredients in your fermenting vessel, with a preponderance of cabbage to start each layer, and topping each layer with a sprinkling of seeds.
Blend all the liquid ingredients until the cabbage leaves are pulverized. Pour the Liquid onto the layered vegetables, and add more water until the kraut has 1 inch of water on top. Cover with cabbage leaves to keep the small pieces under water, and compress the mixture with a stone or other food-safe weight. Leave alone in a warm, dark place. Fermentation should be complete in 4 to 8 weeks. At completion, the kraut may be stored in the refrigerator, where fermentation will be greatly slowed, but the flavor will continue to improve for several months. I consider it best after about 6 months. This sauerkraut is amazingly delicious while providing the intestinal tract with many probiotic organisms