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BRINE PICKLING FOR HEALTH

Brine pickling is a way of reducing the phytic acid levels in legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor and reduces the human body's absorption of important minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and especially zinc by binding with them in the intestinal tract. See other ways to reduce phytic acid in plant foods on the Malnutrition page.

Pickles can be made by storing prepared vegetables in vinegar, a weak brine solution, by dry salting or allowing the vegetables to ferment without salt. The best way to gain the benefits of consuming the friendly bacteria caused by the fermentation process is to avoid pickles made in vinegar as this kills the bacteria outright.

Lacto-fermentation is an easy traditional and most healthy method of making pickles without using vinegar. Pickles made in this manner are alive and rich in probiotics.  It is also a good way to store any excess vegetables and produce for up to one year.

In this age of antibiotics consuming lacto fermented pickles will address the balance of the flora growing in the intestines which in turn aids absorption and production of nutrients.

Fermentation with lactic acid is also a very safe way to preserve food and comprises of just vegetables, herbs, spices, water and sea salt. This provides the right conditions for nature to take its course. The salt slows the decomposition of the vegetables briefly until the sugars in the vegetables are broken down by friendly lactobacilli and converted into lactic acid to preserve the vegetables for many months.

PICKLING GUIDE

Vegetables must be fully submerged beneath the brine and sufficiently weighted down.  If an errant cucumber is sticking out of the brine and exposed to air, yeast and mould are likely to flourish. 

 

Check the pickles regularly and immediately skim off any growth that does occur. Yeast and mould are much more difficult to control in warmer temperatures. Temperatures between about 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit make the best pickles

 

NECESSARY EQUIPMENT 

 

Food grade plastic bucket, glass jar or other nonreactive container to hold the pickles. (A 1 gallon container is needed for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables)

Measuring spoon

A plate that will fit snugly inside the rim of the container

 

IMPORTANT: sterilise by rinsing with boiling water before use

 

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Unrefined pure sea salt

Filtered or bottle mineral water

 

Mixed together to make a 5% salt solution. If you need 2 litres of water to cover the vegetables, you will use 100 grams of salt, for example. You need enough water to completely cover all the vegetables, so how much water and salt you need depends on how many vegetables are being used.

 

As much of one or more of the following as desired

 

artichoke, asparagus, bamboo shoots, beetroot (thinly sliced), bell peppers (strips), cabbage, carrots (thinly sliced), cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes, chestnuts, chicory, chilli peppers, courgettes, cucumbers (sliced or whole), eels, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, green beans, green tomatoes (quartered), herringsjalapeno peppers (strips), leeks, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, olives, onions, okra, peaches, pecan nuts, plums, pine nuts, radish, red cabbage, walnuts.

 

Pickled eggs are good with beetroot, onion and cloves or dill.
 

SUGGESTED HERBS AND SPICES TO INCLUDE

Per quart of brine

 

Bay Leaves 2
Basil (a handful of chopped leaves)
Black Peppercorns (1 handful of whole peppercorns)

Capers (1 handful)
Chilli Peppers (1 - 2 dried or fresh)
Chives (a handful snipped)
Dill (a handful of dill heads)
Garlic (5-6 cloves, crushed, sliced, or chopped)
Ginger (1 inch grated root)
Mustard Seed1/2 teaspoon
Nasturtium (handful of leaves and flowers)
Oregano (a handful of chopped leaves)
Parsley (a handful of chopped leaves)
Tarragon (a handful of chopped leaves)
Thyme (a handful of chopped leaves)

 

Any other herbs and spices may be added as desired. Choose no more than three predominant, complimentary flavours. Experiment and create pickles based on nutritionally beneficial or medicinal vegetables, herbs and spices for a particular condition. Click the blue links or see the Nature Cures A-Z Ailments for the natural vegetables, herbs and spices for any illnesses, infection or disease or the A-Z of Natural Foods to find out what each ingredient is good for.

 

ADDITIONAL HERBS AND SPICES TO ADD
Add one teaspoon per quart of water or more if required.

 

anise seeds, caraway seeds, cardamom, celery seeds, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, paprika, pine needles, rosemary, safflower, saffron, sage, savoury, turmeric, vanilla

 

Try an Asian spiced pickle with Sichuan peppercorns and ginger

Mexican spiced pickle with jalapenos, cumin, and oregano.

Mixed pickling spice gives pickles a spicier, old fashioned flavour

 

For crunchier pickles add a few grape or sour cherry leaves per quart of brine.

 

Avoid: turmeric & ginger if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy
Avoid: cabbage,  kale, plums and prunes if suffering with thyroid problems, kidney or gallstones, joint problems, or osteoporosis
Avoid: rosemary if suffering from high blood pressure, pregnant or breastfeeding
Avoid: sage if pregnant or suffering with epilepsy
Avoid: cumin, ginger and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication), or hormone therapies and contraceptive pills or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems or during the first three months of pregnancy or are breast feeding
 

METHOD

 

In a clean pickling jar, layer the well washed vegetables and spices. 

Leave about 2 inches at the top. 

Prepare the brine with cold water and salt. 

Whisk well to completely dissolve the salt and pour the brine over the vegetables to just cover them.

Weigh down the vegetables to keep them fully submerged in the brine by using a plate that just fits inside the container, creating a seal, and weight the plate down with a well-scrubbed, large rock or a slightly smaller container that has been filled with water.

 

Alternately, use a plastic bag filled with brine to act as both a weight and a seal. 

Fit a heavy plastic freezer bag inside another. Fill the inner bag with a salt brine of 3 tablespoons salt to 1 quart of water and tightly close both bags to prevent leaks. Place on top of the pickles, making sure it fits tightly around the inner edge of the jar. It acts as an airtight weight on top of the vegetables, which will discourage the growth of yeast and scum.

Store the pickles in a cool place (60 to 75F). Liquid may bubble and seep from the pickles as they ferment, so place the pickle container on a tray or in a bowl to contain any overflow

The pickles will take about 4-10 days to complete fermentation, depending on the temperature of fermentation and the concentration of salt in the brine. Cooler temperatures and saltier brines slow fermentation. The fermentation is complete when bubbles are no longer rising to the surface of the pickles and they have a fresh, tart smell. Taste the brine. If the saltiness is not balanced with sourness, let the pickles continue to ferment another day or two.

The pickles will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator as long as they remain submerged in the brine.

Hot Chilli Pepper Sauce

Ferment hot peppers, adding garlic for spicing. Turn the fermented hot peppers into hot sauce by stemming and pureeing them. Be sure to wear gloves when handling hot peppers. For a thinner sauce, strain. Bottled sauce will keep all year in the refrigerator

 

NATURE CURES BOOK

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Other pages of interest

Medicinal Herbs and Spices shows how to make toxic free and nutritious natural home remedies from powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antivirus and anti parasite wonder foods.

Micro Diet Sprouting is an easy way to gain high nutrition (which leads to an enhanced immune system) from small portions of food.  Find out how to grow your own sprouts using a jam jar and just a daily rinse of a small amount of water.

Brine pickling using sea salt and water only, is a way to store vegetables, herbs, spices and fruits for a year. Create spicy tasty pickles and provide vital phytonutrients as well as extra vital probiotic friendly bacteria for the intestines.

Hygiene, Toxins & Health for how to use home grown herbs as safe allergy free cleaning products for the body and home.

Cleanse & Detoxify to find out what natural foods can cleanse the entire system and protect against infection and disease.

Raw Juice Therapy which can cleanse of the system of toxins and help recovery from many illnesses and diseases.

A-Z List of Natural Food for information about all foods nutritional and health benefits.

A-Z List of Ailments for information about conditions, infections, diseases, natural remedies and cures.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to diagnose medical problems, prescribe remedies for illness, or treat disease. It's intention is solely educational. If you are in any doubt about your health, please consult your medical or health professional.

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