Gut Health: Here's How Pickled-Probiotic Vegetables Can Help You Maintain A Healthy Gut
An unhealthy gut can lead to symptoms such as digestive issues, skin irritation, sleep issues, food intolerance and more. Here's how having pickled vegetables can help you boost gut health.
Your gut health is linked with several body functions
- A healthy gut is responsible for healthy digestive health
- Unhealthy diet can lead to poor gut health
- Diarrhea is one of the signs of unhealthy gut
As we know gut health is extremely important. Gut and Immunity are correlated. So to ensure healthy immune system and reduce systemic inflammation, it is important that gut has a good flora of populated beneficial bacteria. An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut can lead to some unpleasant symptoms. Eating wide variety of plant foods and limiting processed foods and sugar can promote gut health. Plant foods provide the gut with prebiotics and types of fiber which are required as food for beneficial organisms (bacteria).
Gut health: The benefits of Pickled-Probiotic vegetables
In order to get benefit of probiotics from vegetables, they need to be fermented. If consumed often, they are supposed to enhance the gut flora of good bacteria. Pickled vegetables can be categorized as
Quick pickles (done in vinegar) and fermented Pickles (prepared in brine and kept to undergo fermentation). The later one has a huge benefit as fermentation leads to production of good bacteria, though taste might be equally good.
So what should be kept in mind if we plan to make fermented pickles?
1. We should buy local
2. Buy equal sized vegetables and cut them in equal-even size
3. Removed bruised and bad quality vegetable
4. Salt brine is the key
5. Keep the vegetables submerged
6. Taste you pickle
7. Temperature should be optimal on the shelf and once done store in cool place.
One should have a glass jar, vegetables to be fermented, a chopping board, basic spices in kitchen, some spoon, forks, knives and tongs to pickle up.
So what all can you pickle up?
- Green beans
- Whole Pickling Cucumbers
- Cauliflowers and more
How you can pickle some common vegetables
1. Carrot / Beetroot sticks:
Ingredients: Carrots/ Beetroots-600g, Filtered Water- 2 cups, Sea Salt- 2 tsp, Mustard Seeds- half tsp, Fennel Seeds- half tsp, Garlic-1 clove
2. Cauliflower / Broccoli florets:
Ingredients: Cauliflower / Florets-300g, Filtered Water- 3 cups, Sea Salt- 3 tsp, Mustard Seeds- half tsp, Fennel Seeds- half tsp, Garlic-1 clove
Method for making Carrot / Beetroot sticks and Cauliflower/ Broccoli florets:
- Wash the jars well with hot soapy water, let them to dry well. Can be dried in sunlight or an oven. This would sterilize the glass jars.
- Wash the vegetables well, peel and slice the carrots lengthwise into halves or quarters depending on size. Trim them according to size of jar. Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
- Remember that 2 inch space at the top of the jar is to be left empty, so cut the vegetables accordingly.
- Put the spices into the bottom of the jar.
- Pack the vegetables into the jar. Carrot/ Beetroot sticks to be stacked tightly.
- Pour the brine over the vegetables; make sure they cover the whole product.
- Loosely screw the lid on the jar, allow it to stand on the shelf away from sunlight for 1-3 days depending on the temperature of the environment. Put the jar on a plate so that if brine overflows it does not cause mess. They are ready when if they taste 'fizzy' and when you see bubbles on the top, it is indicative of fermentation process.
- Close the lid of the jar, can be refrigerated afterwards, fermentation will continue occurring, can be eaten immediately but for more benefits one shall wait for one or two weeks after refrigeration.
- 3. Pickling Cucumbers:
- Ingredients: Cucumber (Pickling) - 8-10, Filtered Water- 4 cups, Salt- 2 T, Mustard Seeds 2 tsp, Garlic-3-6 clove, Peppercorns- 2tsp , Bay leaf-1
Method for pickling cucumbers:
- Wash the cucumbers well on cold water. Remove and discolored, bruised or soft cucumbers
- Make the brine with water and salt. Stir the salt until it dissolves.
- Cut the blossom end off the cucumbers, or cut of both ends. You can also split them in half or use them whole.
- Put the spices into the bottom of the jar.
- Pack the cucumbers into the jar. They are to be stacked tightly.
- Pour the brine over the vegetables; make sure they cover the whole product
- Loosely screw the lid on the jar, allow it to stand on the shelf away from sunlight for 1-3 days depending on the temperature of the environment. Put the jar on a plate so that if brine overflows it does not cause mess. They are ready when they taste "fizzy" and when you see bubbles on the top, it is indicative of fermentation process.
- Close the lid of the jar, can be refrigerated afterwards, fermentation will continue occurring, can be eaten immediately but for more benefits one shall wait for one or two weeks after refrigeration
How to consume your pickled vegetables?
They are a wonderful appetizers, one can garnish them to a sandwich or grilled meats. You can also eat it as a snack and know you are doing something good for the gut. Consume in moderation, do not over-indulge.
(Vandita Jain is Delhi-based nutritionist and Diabetes educator)
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