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A few years back, my polish friend handed me a shot glass with cloudy liquid in it and told me to drink it. I trusted her implicitly, so I drank. A familiar yet exotic tang that I simply could not put my finger on filled my senses. I really liked it and I wanted more. She tried to explain to me that it was the bi-product of some fermentation proccess common in polish kitchens and that it is super good for you. Then I moved and no longer got to hang out in her kitchen and forgot all about it
Fast forward to 2015, I stumble upon posts about fermented veggies. I listened to a podcast that really made me think and that started my thirst for that tangy taste again.
As a result of reading articles and blogs and searching Pinterest and Youtube, I decided to dive in and try this crazy veggie-fermenting thing that is supposed to be good for my gut.
Here is how I did it.
- Shred cabbage and place in bowl
- sprinkle generously with salt and mix well
- using clean hands, squeeze cabbage to ecourage juices out
- Pack tightly into large, wide mouth mason or other container (there is some variation among the sources I looked at as to what to use, I like the Mason jars)
- cabbage should make its own brine as you pack it, but you can top up if needed with 1 tbsp kosher salt disolved in 1 cup water.
- make sure the veggies stay below the water-line. I use Pickle Pebbles glass weights to hold foods down, they will start to float once bubbling begins.
- cover using lid, or air lock (I like the peace of mind that the air lock gives me, but most people just burp the lid every day to let gasses escape. It is worth reading about the different methods and their pros and cons but I am not going to attempt to explain here.)
- leave on counter or place in cool dark place, I leave mine on the counter, I like to watch the bubbles.
- observe. It will begin to bubble over the next day or two, a sign that it is doing as it should, the beneficial bacteria are multiplying! Yay!
- Once bubbling slows down, do a taste test. If you want more tang, leave it out a few more days then test again.
- Move it to the fridge when you have reached desired taste.
- slice carrots lengthwise into sticks or cross-wise into coins
- pack tightly into mason jar or other containter
- add a brine of aprox 1 tbs kosher salt to 1 cup of water, make more brine as needed to fill jar, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Veggies must stay below water level.
- cover with lid or air-lock.
- Leave on counter or place in cool dark place.
- watch. I left my first batch for 3 weeks but the next batch only for 10 days as we don’t have A/C and the mercury was rising. Temperature affects the speed at which the bacteria multiplies. Most sites suggest that cool and slow results in a better ferment. I am still too impatient, but will try that approach as temperatures cool off.
So far, I am most in love with the carrots. I tried a second batch adding dill, whole garlic cloves and green onions. They are my fave and I love to drink the brine. The green onions kinda soft so I probably won’t eat them, but the garlic is sweet and yummy. I liked my cabbage too but will add more flavours next time. I tried asparagus and failed. I think it was too hot and I left it too long. Trial and error. I have baby cucumbers in the frige that I fermented about a week. Not sure how I feel about them yet… I think I pulled them too soon fearing that they had gone soft but they had not, they were still crunchy.
I am affraid of mold. I also have a fear of eating strange foods so it takes great amounts of courage for me to taste the first bite!!!! So far, no major gross-outs, i even ate a couple asparagus but after they sat in the fridge they were not so crunchy and kinda slimy. I am thrilled to be learning an ancient method of preserving and proccessing veggies though, because this momma, needs to start getting healthy again.
Have you tried making fermented veggis? Please share in the comments.