When my grandma lived on a farm she would have tons of pickled baby cucumbers and the whole family would gobble them up and then take an armful of jars home. When I was diagnosed with FM, I thought I would never get one of her jars of pickles again, but she surprised me last Christmas with these:
So why eat lacto-fermented vegetables? These are very good for your gut, as they produce lactobacillus–a probiotic–and it’s very important for those of us with damaged guts (and non-damaged guts!) to consume probiotics.
You can use just about any vegetable when you lacto-ferment, and the combinations are endless! The ones I’ve used for the pictures (knitted pickles excluded) are based on my Mediator Release Test results, and I’ve chose the least reactive vegetables: yellow squash, eggplant, green pepper, and green beans. I’ve never eaten squash or eggplant before, so that could be interesting.
The recipe below is for pickled dilly beans, but the basics for any lacto-fermented vegetable are: vegetables, water, and salt. You want the water you use to be pure without sacrificing minerals, so you should avoid tap water if possible or the chlorine and fluoride that may be present could ruin your efforts. Water that has gone a through a home filter usually isn’t to be trusted, either. I’ve done a bit of research and chosen to use Mountain Valley Spring Water, which is free of chlorine and fluoride but still contains minerals. And it comes in a glass bottle. My runner-up choice is Evian.
Recently I’ve started using this pink sea salt. The salts we buy at the market (including most sea salts you get at health food stores) are highly refined and in that process the valuable trace minerals salt contains are destroyed and harmful chemicals are used to keep it dry and white. Salt that is dried naturally (i.e. by the sun) is the way to go.
- Green beans (a few handfuls should do)
- Green pepper (optional)
- Unrefined sea salt
- 1-2 garlic clove (optional, based on tolerance)
- Handful of fresh dill (optional)
- Mountain Valley Spring Water (or other purified water)
- Mason jars, pint or quart
Wash the green beans and green pepper.
De-seed and chop the green pepper into thin slices.
Cut off the ends of the green beans. If using a pint-size mason jar, you might have to cut some beans in half.
Peel and crush the garlic clove(s).
Lay a jar on its side and add in the vegetables and garlic clove(s). Make sure they’re packed in tightly or they will float to the top and the brine won’t cover them.
Add dill on top of the beans.
Add in 1 tablespoon of salt for a quart jar, and 1/2 tablespoon for a pint.
Pour in the water until it’s about 1 inch away from the top of the jar.
Screw the cap on the jar tightly and store in a dark place, like a cupboard.
The time to let it ferment varies from a few hours to a few weeks. I like to let mine go about 3 days and then stick them in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. I eat a few every day before dinner to help with digestion.
Elimination Diet safe: I’m actually not sure about this one.