One last fermenting workshop post

I know some of you couldn’t care less about fermenting because you hate the taste (Hi, Eileen!), but others of you have been asking questions, so I’m going to do one last post about it with photos. After this, feel free to email me directly. In these photos, Julie and I were making my version of Flu Prevention in a Jar Veggies. It’s a little different than the one I linked to in previous posts, because that’s the way I roll. We’ve made three jars so far, and it’s really delicious. You can apply this technique to green cabbage to make sauerkraut, too.

My recipe for these fermented vegetables looks like this:

Ingredients

  • 1 small cabbage – cored and shredded or cut finely
  • 2 medium apples – shredded (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
  • 3 handfuls spinach – fresh, ribboned or chopped
  • 1 small leek – chopped
  • 1 medium carrot – shredded
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 TBS sea salt*
  • 1 large orange – zested and juiced
  • Orange juice

Mix everything except the orange juice with the salt and then follow the directions under the photographs. Before tasting and packing it into a jar, add the orange juice.

When we made it, one jar took 3 days, one took 4. It’s fairly warm in the room where we let them sit, though, so if your house is cooler, it could take 4-7 days. Start tasting on Day 3. You’re looking for a pleasantly sour taste, plus salty, plus yummy crunch vegetable-y…It should have lost its “raw vegetable” taste.

*Salt – there are so many varieties that you should err on less salt and add more as needed after massaging and tasting it. If you accidentally put too much salt in, just add more vegetables until it tastes right. This is not a time to skimp on salt though, because it is what is going to kick off the fermentation…so it should be well-seasoned, but not too salty to eat.

One note on starters – many recipes call for starters (usually sold by someone wanting to make money off you). You don’t need them. Salt will do the trick nicely. However if you’ve already made a jar of vegetables and your doing a new batch, it can speed things up if you add a bit a liquid from your first jar to your new batch.

For sauerkraut, it’s pretty much the same as this recipe…you can just use salt, or you can add things like juniper berries, cumin, hot red pepper flakes, peppercorns, lemon slices to hold the cabbage down…whatever floats your boat!

If the liquid develops a white film, don’t worry, that’s just harmless yeast. Fish out any vegetables that have floated above the liquid and toss them. With a spoon, skim the film off. I generally use a paper towel after that to wipe the inside of the jar around the edges too, to keep it from forming again. You can do this mid-ferment, or wait until it’s done and do it once. Up to you, but I would remove any vegetables that have come up above the liquid.

Okay! That’s it on fermenting. Good luck!

After you shred your vegetables, add salt and massage with your hands until you can see lots of juice when pressing down. About five minutes of massaging usually does it!
Before putting into a clean jar (no need to sterilize it, you’re trying to grow good bacteria), taste it for salt. It might be sharp or spicy due to the raw vegetables like cabbage and garlic, but if the salt tastes right, you’re good to stuff it into the jar. Put a handful at a time, and then press it down hard with your knuckles.
Once it’s pressed into the jar, pour any remaining liquid into the jar too, and add a reserved cabbage leaf or two to keep the contents from floating. Then press down so the liquid comes up over the top. The idea is to keep the vegetables submerged below the liquid.
Here I have added a smaller jar filled with water to weigh the vegetables down and keep them under the liquid. Push the jar down into it and cover with plastic wrap and a rubber band to hold it in place.

 

 

 

This is what it looks like when it’s all wrapped up. Set it in a cool place out of direct sunlight for the time stated on the recipe. Check it every day to make sure the vegetables are still submerged. After a couple of days, when you press down on the weighted jar, you’ll see bubbles shooting through the liquid. This is a good sign that fermentation is happening.
Label the jars with the date and time that you made it, along with the recipe’s suggested fermentation time, but start tasting them after about 3 days. How fast they ferment is determined by how warm your room is, and what you’re making.
Julie

This article was written by Joelle