2/3 fullPlant materialfast growing plants before sunrise
1/3 weight of plant materialBrown sugaror molasses
dependsWaterIf needed, just enough to top off the plant material
Clay jarwith cloth napkin
It’s important to know that this fermented plant juice should be started right away after gathering your plants. Start the ferment while the plants are still fresh or else you will have a low quality, weak fermented juice.FPJ Step-By-Step Directions: First thing in the morning, go out and pick your green plants as they still have their morning dew
Do not wash these plant leaves, just swipe off or lightly flick off any dirt or debris. If you wash it, you lose many beneficial microorganisms the FPJ needs .
Weigh your plant material, then mix in with it 1/3 of its weight, brown sugar. (You can use up to 1/2 of the plant material’s weight of brown sugar, depending on the plant’s natural water content)
Next, stir these together in a container on a wide tray or container. Lay some newspaper on top and let it sit for a couple hours.
After the initial waiting period, place the mixture in your clay pot. You should have enough to fill the jar up 2/3 full with the plant and sugar mix. Don’t bring the newspaper into it, just the plants and sugar mix. Leave 1/3 free for air circulation.
It’s recommended to place a rock on top of your plant material mixture to push out extra air before rubber banding a thin cloth or piece of paper on the clay jar as a lid. If your container has it’s own lid, don’t use it. Use paper or thin cloth (we had a million 100% cotton thin sheets we used for our newborn. These are perfect for fermenting clay pot lids. By tying a cloth or paper tight it keeps little critters like fruit flies out.
After 1 to 2 days of sitting in a dark room, open the jar and remove the rock you have inside to remove extra air. You can use any heavy object for this, but at this step take it out. Will no longer use it.
Leave the clay jar open for a few minutes up to an hour and then cover it again to let it ferment for a few more days.
After around 5 days, check the plant material to see if liquid is coming out from the plants yet. The sugar should have broken down the plant cells and started the decomposition process to get it fermenting. If there is no water yet, at this point you want to add clean water to it yourself, just enough to top off the plant material, no more. Cover it again and place it back in your dark room.
Next, after adding the water or confirming water has been extracted and covering it again, leave it be for 2 to 3 weeks. Do not touch it, mess with it, check on it, or move it to a better location in these 2 to 3 weeks. Leave it alone to let it complete the fermentation.
After this final waiting period, it should be finished. The fermentation won’t have a very pleasant smell. It will be sour. If you see tiny bubbles, then it’s well made and ready to use.
Strain and store: Last step is to strain the plant material out. Discard the solids and keep the liquid fermented plant juice in an air tight container. It will last a year in room temp in an airtight container.
If the plant leaves are large, cut them into around 10 cm pieces in order to increase osmotic pressure (for plant cell breakdown that kicks off the fermentation process) and surface area.
Make sure to let the FPJ ferment undisturbed. Bubbles start forming after a couple days and this is a clue that all is well. If after a week it’s still not fermenting, your weather may be too cold, or it may be due to disturbing it too much in the first days.
The finished FPJ will have a very slight alcohol scent. This is normal for ferments and is caused by chlorophyl breaking down.
Washing the chosen plants or collecting right after a rain will give you plants without enough lactic acid bacteria and yeast. Your ferment will come out thick, dark and sludgy and not be very usable.
Choose plants that grow fast for your FPJ. Faster growers contain growth hormone that plants really respond positively to when fertilized with it. They’ll in turn grow faster and stronger as well.