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Colleen and I do this and it is so simple and enjoyable! This is by far the best way to store veggies for winter months or to create cultured vegetables for purposes of enjoying more probiotics in your diet.

Make your brine by adding 1 Tablespoon of salt for every 2 Cups of water. Then pour in water until it covers your vegetables! It takes about two weeks for the vegetables to ferment and to be ready to eat. You can then place them in a refrigerator, or leave them covered completely within the same solution in your food-storage area. Should be a cooler area of your house.

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Comment by The Health Seekers Kitchen on April 16, 2012 at 11:28am

There is a difference between mineral rich sea salt and processed salt.  Refined table salt (NaCl) refined to 99.99 percent purity is not a food at all, but a food grade industrial chemical. The body can digest it, but not without health consequences. This is the substance that lends all salt a bad name. Read this really good article by Bill Hettig (The Perfect Pickler) He explains the process of fermentation with sea salt & water.

Salt Matters

Posted on 25th Nov 2010 @ 11:58 PM

Salt of the Earth

Essay by Bill Hettig

There are two substances that comprise the core of life on this planet. All life arises and is sustained by them. Without either there would be no life on Earth. Salt and water are the same two substances needed to ferment pickles. From the simplest to the most complex life forms, these are the sustainers of life.

salt1.jpgIn a Bible passage Lot's wife was turned to salt when she turned and looked at the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. Actually, she turned back into salt. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust to a scientist translates into "minerals to minerals and salt to salt." That's what we are, mostly salt and water.

“God sent down four blessings from the sky,” the Prophet Muhammad said. “Iron, fire, water, and salt.” In brine pickling, also known as lacto-fermentation, water is mixed with salt to bring forth life; primal life.

Human blood plasma and lymph and most of our internal fluids are remarkably similar to ocean waters. We can be revived with a saline solution should we lose a lot of blood.

To understand how salt and water in the presence of vegetables makes pickles is complex and deeply fascinating. Minerals act like a battery charge when in the presence of water. Technically, there are ions and cations (plus + and minus - charged molecules) that provide the juice to propel fermentation.


Comment by James Simmons on April 16, 2012 at 11:43am

Thank you Debbie, that is an uplifting and helpful comment. How much actual salt does Bill say ends up in the fermented food that is eaten, as opposed to the brine that is generally discarded? For the person with high blood pressure or heart disease, it is important to understand why fermented vegetables are either safe or unsafe. Jim

Comment by The Health Seekers Kitchen on April 16, 2012 at 11:47pm

I just did the math on the sodium content of brine pickles made with 2 cups water and 1 Tbsp. Coarse Celtic Sea Salt for those of you who need to watch your sodium levels.  These figures are good to know and will help those of you who are watching those numbers a little more carefully.

A low-sodium diet is typically recommended for individuals that have high blood pressure or hypertension as well as other medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. This amount could differ slightly from different doctors and sources. The average American eats around 3,400 mg. of salt per day and most of this is hidden in foods they eat (not from the salt shaker on the table).

In one quart of brine pickles you have 4,920 mg. of sodium between the brine and the vegetables.  There are 12 (1/4 cup) servings per 1 qt. bottle. If you were to eat 1/4 cup of the pickles and drink 2 1/2 Tbsp. of the brine with it, you would get 376 mg. of  sea salt.  Most people do not drink the brine, so the amount of salt in 1/4 cup of pickles is a lot less than that.  When I dumped the brine water out of my probiotic carrots I made, I still had 2 cups brine.  We know some of the salt has entered the carrots, but a a lot remains in the brine as well.

For those having to be extra careful on their sodium intake, you need to include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods with hidden, unhealthy refined salt. When adding salt to your diet (Which we all need), Cultured Brine Pickles are a good, calculated & healthy way to add it. The 75 minerals, the probiotics, enzymes & vitamins in the cultured pickles are worth every bit of the salt.

Read what Bill Hettig (Creator of the Perfect Pickler) states:

"Pickles are a sour-salty condiment to be used in small quantities on a regular basis. Fresh brine pickles made with unrefined sea salt at a 4-5 percent solution provides the diet with not only sodium, but over 75 different minerals. To exclude a quality fermented veggie from the diet, in my opinion does little benefit. There is so much the microbiota use within the mineral complexes. It would be better to scrub the salt somewhere else and "make room" for these super foods. In addition, when you eat a little bland rice and toss in a little fermented pickle (kimchi), you can use it to both season and add flavor to the otherwise sad-tasting reality found in a low-salt diet" -

Comment by Becky Wolford on April 17, 2012 at 5:09am

That is interesting info, Jim, about the open fermenting method and stomach cancer.

Regarding the salt to water ratio: I watched a few related YouTube videos about this and I believe the ratio they gave was 1 Tbsp. salt to 2 cups of water.  Also, I attended a class at the Tree of Life Center where they taught us how to make sauerkraut.  They said that some people do make sauerkraut without salt - so I guess it is a possibility for those who are worried about their sodium intake.  You just might need to do some more research on how to do it.

I think this looks great.  I haven't tried it yet, but am eager to do so.  I just need to buy one of those gadgets for the lid.  

Comment by James Simmons on April 17, 2012 at 8:10am

Several have noted that the salt to water ratio I had suggested isn't right. It should be 1Tbsp salt to 2 cups water. Jim

Comment by James Simmons on April 17, 2012 at 8:15am

Thanks Debbie for doing the math! That is helpful information for those who need to watch their sodium intake a little more closely. jim

Comment by Linda Black on May 18, 2012 at 10:23pm


I've been reading up on fermented veggies. Some sites suggest using a ferment starter...

(Taken from http://bodyecology.com/articles/cveggies.php).

"While it is not necessary to add a "starter culture" to your vegetables, we recommend that you do it just to ensure that your vegetables begin fermenting with a hardy strain of beneficial bacteria. Body Ecology s Cultured Vegetable Starter contains a very robust bacterium called L. Plantarum. (See our recipes below.)"

Do you have an opinion or experience with using a cultured vegetable starter?

Is there another class coming up on the subject?

I love all the information you've posted about fermented veggies. This has been VERY helpful!



Comment by James Simmons on May 20, 2012 at 10:30am

Certainly using a cultured vegetable starter can be helpful in speeding up the process, simply because you are increasing  the density or number of beneficial bacteria that are included within the initial brine. However, we have never used beneficial bacteria and the culturing of vegetables works wonderfully without it because the right cultures of bacteria are already present on the vegetables. Cultures tend to flock to their preferred sources of food. Therefore, you find one culture that is more persistent with say type A wheat, and a slightly different structure with type B wheat, or with rice, or quinoa and so forth. It is the same with veggies and even if you were to begin with a certain culture of veggies out of a "package" over time the culture of veggies will always adapt to what is most attracted to the food source being cultured. Not sure if this makes sense, but this is also why when a person begins with a "bread starter" with us, it will get the process going, but that strain of starter will mutate according to the type of grain a person uses most in their natural leavening of bread.

Again, it cannot hurt to add a cultured vegetable starter, but it is not necessary either.

I will check on a class that I know a friend teaches on this subject to find out when the next one will be scheduled. And thanks Linda, so glad we can be of help. Colleen and I are very fond of you and really respect the great contributions you are making. We would like to help you promote them in any way we can, including your be able to schedule any helpful events on this website. Jim

Comment by Linda Black on May 31, 2012 at 2:31am

Thank you for your information. Just a few days after I posted my question I received an invite to a class in Alpine! Wow, when you ask you receive! Karen Urbanek owner of Nature's Garden Wellness Center from Wisconsin was the speaker (http://www.naturesgardenwellnesscenter.com/). She did not use a starter for her veggies either. Her process is simple: use a cabbage base that consists of thinly sliced cabbage and a couple of tablespoons of salt both crushed to release water from the cabbage before bottling. Fill the jar within 1in at the top and seal by using plastic baggies filled with water then sealed and placed on top of the veggie mix. This allows the gases produced by the fermentation to escape without letting in the air. Thank you for the invite to post helpful events. I have a "Yoga For Healthy Back" workshop coming up June 23rd that i would love to post. 

Comment by James Simmons on May 31, 2012 at 9:14am

The plastic bag with the water is an exceptional idea. I've done all sorts of things, but that seems so simple. By the way, submerging the veggies is so important. Dr. Campbell noted in the China Study that the only diseases experienced by the Chinese that were in greater proportion to diseases experienced here in the U.S. were caused by improper food handling. They have almost no refrigeration there and when they become sloppy in their fermentation processes, they introduce harmful pathogens that then end up in the fermented food. The pathogens subsequently infest the lining of the throat and stomach, ultimately leading to pathogen induced cancers. 


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