Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fermented vegetable juice

Since I saw snowdrops and other bulbs very gently trying to stick out of the soil last week, I was hoping that the weather will pick up. Perhaps I did not expect proper warm Spring soon but I hoped that at least I will not see more snow this winter.

To prepare myself for the Spring I have made fermented vegetables juice. In Central and Eastern Europe fermented vegetables are very common, everyday diet ingredients. In Poland we eat sauerkraut (fermented white cabbage), gherkins in brine, or fermented beetroot juice. Our diet contains a natural lactic acid that is good for your body and it comes from those fermented vegetables or naturally fermented milk products. Also quite popular is kvas (RUS) or kwas (PL) also called a bread drink.

Vegetable juices processed by natural way of lactic acid fermentation contain high amount of beneficial substances such as vitamins, mineral compounds, dietary fibre and anticancer compounds. When I suffered from anaemia few years ago it was not the medication but fermented beets juice made by my Mum that helped me stand back on my feet. It not only is very healthy but tastes great and chilled is perfect drink on a hot day or just something nice to have your dinner with. My mates who live outside Poland said that such naturally fermented juices are available in wholefood stores, but they can be extremely expensive.

So I had this juice ready and how was the weather? Unfortunately we had snow this morning. It is dull, cold and wet. I couldn't even have my Saturday morning ritual and watch BBC Saturday Kitchen due as I was told by Sky TV customer service - extreme weather conditions, how they call 1 inch of snow and temperature at around 0C.

Never mind. At least I have my juice.

Makes about 1.2l

5 medium beetroots, peeled and sliced
half pf large celeriac, peeled and sliced
quarter of medium white cabbage, shredded
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly crushed
piece of fresh ginger, about 1 inch, peeled and halved
2 level tsp of salt
about 1.2l lukewarm boiled water

Place all the ingredients except from water and salt in large, glass jar or clay jug. I place it in few layers of each vegetable and top it up with garlic and ginger. Next add slated water, enough to cover vegetables. If the vegetables float to the top and remain exposed to air, they are likely to develop mould.

Cover with piece of paper kitchen towel or cheesecloth, secure with elastic band and leave in warm, dark place for about 4 days. Sometimes grey foam can develop on the top, but do not worry - just remove it and drain the juice, saving the vegetables for later.

You can use these vegetables to make a second round. Just cover them again with salted water and leave it in the same way, but for little bit longer (about 6-7 days). The second round will give you little less intensive flavour but it still be tasty.

Store it in a fridge, covered because the smell is quite strong. You can add it to beetroot soup to enhance it's flavour, however you not allowed to boil it, because it will turn soup cloudy and brownish. One glass a day should improve your digestion and health.

Na zdrowie! Good health!

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