Pickles are a quintessential picnic food, but have you tried fermented broccoli? Well, grab some salt and water, and let's make broccoli pickles.
By experimenting with fermentation recipes, you can make them zesty or with a hint of garlic, even some herbs and spices. Any way you slice it, broccoli pickles are worth the try!
What Are Fermented Foods?
Naturally fermented foods have gone through fermentation through controlled bacterial growth, breaking down sugars. The environment in which this happens is called an anaerobic environment (or free of air).
Once the bacteria consume the sugars and carbon dioxide, lactic acid is produced, and the environment becomes more acidic. Bad bacteria cannot survive in these conditions, and good bacteria (lactobacillus) take over.
The lactobacillus continues to ferment any remaining sugars in the vegetable (cabbage, for example), producing even more lactic acid until the fermented food reaches a pH level of about 3. This will be the right condition for a fermented vegetable. Thank you, lactobacillus! (Special crocks like a sauerkraut crock provide the perfect conditions for lactobacillus. So, if you use one, it can help ensure that your food will be perfectly fermented.)
Some Thoughts Before You Pickle That Broccoli
Many fermented vegetable recipes claim that broccoli just can't be fermented. In truth, the florets won't hold up during fermentation, but the broccoli stems, cut into spears, will. With a crunchy texture, those spears will withstand the pickling process perfectly!
How many times have you used only the florets of the broccoli and ended up wasting the stems? By using the stems to pickle, you not only save a lot of food waste, but you also create a healthy, nutritious snack with minimal effort. It can be ready in just a week!
Here is a super simple recipe for fermented broccoli. It's quick and easy and doesn't use a ton of ingredients.
One of the Best Fermented Broccoli Recipes
Here's a recipe you can try that is relatively quick and easy. The broccoli ends up having a nice firm and crunchy texture in as little as one week. The taste is fantastic!
You can add it to a salad or use it as a garnish on your burger (replacing a standard pickle). You could even pop some pickles on your pizza!
- Food fermenting crocks or sterilized mason jars
- 1 pound of organic broccoli cut into strips (stalks included)
- 1-2 cups of filtered water
- 1 3/4 tsp of sea salt
- 5 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- Optional spices: 1 clove of garlic, rosemary (1 sprig), ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed red chili pepper flakes (perfect if you like things spicy!)
- Combine your vegetables and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl, making sure the salt mixes with the organic broccoli thoroughly. Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the moisture to be drawn out of the broccoli by the salt.
- Add the mix into fermenting crocks or jars, pushing down the mixture as you fill it. The trick is to make sure there's no air trapped anywhere inside. By pushing down each layer, you ensure that you are packing everything tightly into the jar as you go.
- Once you've filled the crocks or jars with enough broccoli to reach around an inch from the container's top, you're ready to top it up with the filtered water. Cover it with a small cloth. You can also place the lid on, but keep it loose at this point.
- Your broccoli is now ready to ferment. Check on it every day, making sure that you push the contents back down so everything is submerged in the liquid. If it becomes too dry, simply add more water. Typically, it will take roughly a week to 10 days for it to be ready.
- Check your contents after around 5 to 7 days to see if the broccoli tastes the way you like it. If the broccoli seems to be a bit too salty, then leave it a little longer. The flavor of the broccoli will mellow a bit after this period.
- Once you have the right flavor, it is now time to seal in all that flavor and begin to enjoy it. You can keep your pickled broccoli in the fridge for months, but it will taste so good, it won't last that long!
Fermented Broccoli Nutritional Information
This delicious fermented treat you've just made has a ton of nutrients, but very few calories. The total caloric intake is approximately 170 calories, making this snack a perfect way to get minerals and vitamins without the extra calories. It may even help with weight loss!
It also has 33g of carbohydrates, 2g of total fat, 14g of total protein, and only 8g of total sugar.
Watch out if you're on a sodium-restricted diet – this recipe contains 3875g of sodium. So, consult a doctor if you are trying to cut down on your salt intake!
Conclusion: Fermented Broccoli is Brilliant!
Fermented vegetables are a tasty and inexpensive way to get probiotics, minerals, and vitamins into your diet. There are so many fermented foods available in stores, and it's also easy to make at home. This fermented broccoli recipe will give you a healthy pickled alternative.
By experimenting with spices and seasonings, you can create all kinds of wonderful pickled broccoli concoctions that will be a hit with dinner guests and picnic goers. For centuries, broccoli has been known as one of the healthiest foods. Fermenting it only takes it up a notch for flavor and nutrition!