In Ayurveda, getting the different tastes at meals promotes health for multiple reasons. Each taste stimulates a particular part of the tongue, which in turn corresponds to a specific organ, and activating all of the organs enables them to collectively function well. Different tastes also facilitate aspects of digestion and have effects on the doshas, or elemental energies, but I'll go into this another time. And of course, fermented foods contribute to a happy ecosystem in the gut :).
With this concoction, the ferment itself creates the sour taste, kale brings in the bitter, apple brings sweet and astringent, the brine brings salty, and ginger and chili bring pungent. I like to use whatever I have around - earlier in the year I threw dandelion greens into the mix. Having a spoonful with your meals enhances gut health and adds some zing!
Below is kind of the recipe to the best of my recollection. There's no need to be precise - it's all about experimenting and tweaking until you find what works best for you, and will probably be different each time. The following is just what I did on this occasion, and I ended up with about a quart, which I split into two jars just because I didn't have a big jar.
3 medium carrots
A few stalks of kale, de-stemmed
1 medium apple
1 medium beetroot
1 fresh chili
Dried chili or chili flakes
For the brine:
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups water
Core and chop cabbage and place in a large bowl (if you have a giant cabbage, you might want to just use half). Sprinkle some salt, massage the cabbage, and pound down to remove the air. Let this rest for at least 20 minutes and meanwhile chop up whatever else you'll use.
Make the brine by mixing 2 tablespoons of salt in two cups of water and set aside. Add the other chopped veg/fruit to the cabbage, mix, and massage. Some people make a paste with chili, garlic, and ginger and massage this through. I wanted to make it more sattvic (calming) as my constitutional tendency is wired and stimulated, so I just chopped a little bit of fresh chili (seeds removed), dried chili, and ginger and mixed this in rather than adding lots of garlic and chili paste. Do what you like!
Place the mix in clean jars and keep packing down to remove air, and then cover with the brine water. I cover the top of the veg with a clean ziplock bag I'm reusing and push it down so everything's submerged and screw the lid on but not too tightly. Then put the jar in a tray or bowl to capture any fluid that might erupt during the process.
Every 12 hours or so, open up to release gas and punch down and make sure everything's still submerged before replacing lid. It will probably be ready in 72 hours, and you can taste some at that point, or you can leave it for a week. When it's done, keep in the fridge. It can last a while, but the idea is to have some everyday.