Advertisements abound for probiotic pills and supplements, but you can make your own probiotics that will be a bonus both to your pocketbook and your taste buds. Probiotics are important to include in your diet because they replenish the healthy bacteria that live in your gut and throughout your body, improving digestion, immune function and even helping decrease allergies. This recipe adapted by Carly Kellogg, a student in Bastyr University's Master of Science in Nutrition program, will add flavor and color to your probiotic consumption.
Dissolve sea salt in water. Place vegetables and spices into a glass quart jar. Leave 1 inch from the top of the jar. Then cover with salted water, leaving about 1 inch to ½-inch from the top. Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it into the brine, so the water floats above it and the vegetables are submerged. Cover with a plastic lid and store out of direct sunlight. After three days you should see a bit of bubbling (the natural fermenting process).
After a total of five days of fermenting, taste the veggies. If the taste is to your liking, proceed. If you prefer a more sour taste, let the vegetables ferment for another two to three days. Once ready, remove the cabbage leaf and place the jar in your refrigerator where the vegetables will keep for a month or two.
Use your vegetables to top cooked grains, beans or leafy greens. They also go well with grilled fish or chicken.