Fermenting veggies for dogs is an affordable and easy way to change the structure of the plant matter to a more bioavailable state; which allows you to give your dog some hefty health benefits. The fermented food is converted into a natural “gut balancer” and as such, fermented vegetables are often incorporated as part of a leaky gut protocol. They are a good option to feed proactively for overall gut health.
Fermented veggies are also a cancer fighter. There are a lot of research articles and blog posts on the Internet about the topic so I won’t use this space to repeat what’s already been well written elsewhere by experts. Instead, here’s a solid article to take a look at as a starting point if you’re interested in the topic: DNA Recognition Process of the Lactose Repressor Protein Studied via Metadynamics and Umbrella Sampling Simulations, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
The Raw Notes: Lactic acid that’s produced by the fermentation process acts as a “chemical repressor.”
Below in the fermenting instructions, it’s emphasized to start with very little salt. A pinch, seriously. A salt choice tip from a raw feeder in San Diego named Deb: You want to use a high-grade Himalayan pink salt for this because it works with the vegetables to brine faster than a wet salt. Why? Pink salt is pretty dry so it draws the natural water out of the plant you’re working with better than a wet salt. This means you will see the brine sooner and be less tempted to add more salt. You don’t need to worry about high sodium in your ferments as long as you don’t add a bunch of salt!
Start out with a simple mixed cabbage ferment and use your new sauerkraut as your starter for your second ferment. You use less salt this way because you are macerating your new vegetables with your existing ferment. Sometimes you will need to add more salt than others.
Brine Tip: Don’t exceed a 2% brine when fermenting for dogs unless you’re fermenting beets. If you’re fermenting beet, be very careful and keep the salt strict in amount appropriate for your beet batch.
Trace Minerals Boost: Pink salt also has trace minerals that are pretty small in registerable amounts but none the less they are there so that’s another pro to the pink salt for fermenting.
Because lacto-fermenting your vegetables is going to take several days it is best to get started as an initial step as part of your prep.
This fermenting kit is a SCRFD favorite for the “pickle lid” method. It is for wide mouthed mason jars. The kit includes high-grade glass fermenting weights. Food-grade silicone lids, and a wooden tamper. If you use this method you do need to use the weights as a barrier between your ferment and air, as the tip of the lids do have a pin size hole.
This kit is affordably priced and has a couple of great features to it that include a date setting on the inside of the lid to help you track how long you’ve had the food fermenting and also a hand-held oxygen extractor.
This kit includes a tamper like the pickle lid kit and the lids are easy to work with and allow for gasses to slowly release.
These Ball wide mouth mason jars are 24 oz. which is the perfect size for micro-batches of fermented veggies.
Non-GMO Pink Salt
Cut your vegetables into small slices or chunks. Very minimally add a pinch of pink salt. Massage the salt into the vegetables for about 2 minutes. Less salt is more. You can always add it but you cannot take it away. If you have any hint of liquid after the first rub then don’t add anymore salt at this point. Cover your bowl of veggies loosely and walk away for about 20 minutes. When you return, give them a good rub and see how the liquid has progressed. If there is more than when you left them 20 minutes prior; then it is time to add them to your glass jar. If they have not created any additional liquid then add just the slightest bit more salt- less than you started with and 1/4 tablespoon of water and massage them very well for 2 minutes, loosely cover and leave another 20 minutes.
By now they should have created a nice amount of liquid which we will now call brine here forward.
Add your vegetables and your brine to the mason jar and press down firmly with your tamper. It is very important to fully pack the veggies in and press all the air out. Really mash them into the jar. When you have filled it to the point you are happy then wipe the interior walls of the jar clean and drop your weight in. Be sure to leave about an inch of space before the weight is dropped in if you are filling your jar. The veggies will continue to self-brine over the next several days adding brine to your jar.
Put your lid on and lock it in place. Store in a dark place with a steady temperature. Ideally you want 70 degrees in the dark. 60 degrees-70 degrees works.
Leave them alone for two days. Come back and give the jar a check to make sure all is going right and no liquid has escaped. If you’re using a method without airlocks then its time for the first “turn.” You want to slowly turn the jar so the vegetables and brine can move but you don’t want to flip it or heavily agitate the contents. If you disturb your ferment too much it can cause air to get in by escaping past the disturbed weight. The brine can also slide upwards past the weight, be exposed, slide back down into the jar under the weight and affect your food. Turn them every two or three days.
You want a tight barrier between the vegetables and the top of the jar by keeping the weight in place. *If some does escape or the weight moves. Don’t panic! Just open your jar and clean it up. Tamp them down even if they don’t look like they need it and put your weight back in and seal the jar back shut.
This method of fermenting most vegetables for dogs will be ready as soon as 17 days waiting until day 20 is more ideal. You can put it in the fridge on day 20 after you serve your first serving. Check fermenting time for the particular veggies you’d like to use online.
Ways to know it’s ready & How to Decide if it’s Mold or Yeast Scuzz & What to Do:
The brine has over taken the veg a bit.
Bubbles are present.
The smell is sour/tangy/vinegarish.
It’s been at least 17-20 days.
Sometimes too little salt or too much salt or air can cause a yeast film. Often it can be confused with mold. If you catch site of the yeast film fast enough then you can correct it.
Mold will be fuzzy and it will be in spots or patches of pink, red, green, blue, or black. It truly will appear as fuzzy mold. If you have mold then pitch and begin again.
Yeast scuzz is a “film” and it is light in color. It can be white and it can also be grey. Sometimes it is translucent. You simply skim the scuzz off. Clean the interior walls of the jar and your weight. Put 1/4 tablespoon of water in and press your veg back down as firmly as you can with your tamper. Put your clean and dry weight back in and seal your jar back shut.
Raw Feeder on a Budget Tip: Save seeds, cores, roots, and pits when you are cutting your vegetables. You can organically regrow many vegetables from these type of clippings.