|Environmentally Sound Technologies for Women in Agriculture (IIRR, 1996, 213 p.)|
|Vegetables and post-harvest technologies|
Do you grow vegetables? If so, try this simple, low-cost preservation technique. By preserving vegetables in the peak season, you can enjoy nutritious vegetables all year round.
Fermentation is a great way to preserve several types of vegetables together at one time. One of the vegetables in the mix should be cabbage. Cabbage contains substances which help in fermentation. When cabbage is not available, radish or cucumber will serve the purpose.
1 Select any type of vegetable except potato, sweet potato, or other vegetables which are rich in carbohydrates. Wash the vegetables thoroughly in clean water, and wipe them dry with a clean, rough cloth.
2 Shred the vegetables, preferably with a stainless steel knife or shredder.
Shred the vegetables
3 Cabbage (or radish or cucumber) should comprise at least half the total weight of the vegetable mix.
4 Add 22 g (4-5 tsp) of common salt per kg of shredded vegetables and mix it thoroughly. Allow it to stand for an hour or two.
5 Put the mixture in a glass or plastic container, such as a bucket. The size of the container depends on your requirement. If you are using a wood or earthen container, coat the inside with wax.
6 Press down on the shredded vegetable mix until the brine solution is squeezed to the surface.
Press down on the shredded vegetable
7 Take a plastic sheet (200 gauge) twice the size of the mouth of the container and cover the mix.
8 Press down on the plastic sheet to expel all the air.
Press down on the plastic sheet to expel all the air
9 Pour water on the plastic sheet so that the sheet will be forced down on top of the vegetable mix.
Pour water on the plastic sheet so that the sheet will be forced down on top of the vegetable mix.
10 Fasten the hanging edges of the plastic sheet with a thick thread around the neck of the container to make it airtight.
Fasten the hanging edges of the plastic sheet with a thick thread around the neck of the container to make it airtight.
11 Keep the container in a cool place.
Vegetables can be preserved by fermentation for about three months. But, once the container is opened, the vegetables in it should be used the same day. If this is not possible, preserve the leftover vegetables by bottling, refrigeration, or the use of preservatives.
To make a refreshing soft drink, add sugar and spices to the fermented juice, heat, and serve.
Fermented vegetables are sour. So, wash the mixture thoroughly with water. This will remove the acid and salt. Cook the mixture to your taste.
Instead of washing off the fermented juice, you might like to collect it and serve it as a nutritious drink. Fermented vegetable juice is rich in vitamins B and C. It is a good appetizer served before meals, and can be used as a stock for curries.
Contributor: Dr. Suneet Mukerjee