This is the third post in the What Are Fermented Foods? series…Fermented Vegetables (and Sauerkraut)
I started out using the simple 3-5 day recipes for fermented veggies from Nourishing Traditions. They turned out alright but it wasn’t until I read a post by Nourishing Treasures about all things sauerkraut that I realized I would get much more probiotic activity and better ‘sour’ flavor if I fermented longer…much longer. Good things come to those who wait. Based on the basic recipe from Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin at the FeedMeLikeYouMeanIt blog, I make my ferments based on weight. It is worth it to purchase a simple kitchen scale that weighs in both grams and ounces/pounds. For any fermented veggie recipe you can basically use any type of vegetable you want (root veggies and cabbage handle the treatment the best) and for each 450g increment you add 10g of real sea salt. Let your imagination run wild (or let your CSA box dictate it which is what I do).
My tips – keep a large bowl on the scale and as you chop your vegetables, add them to the bowl. When you get a final weight, remove the bowl with the veggie content and then add a smaller bowl to the scale and measure out your salt.
Here is a recipe I made tonight and it took me about 20-30 min because I hand chopped my vegetables vs. using a food processor. By all means – use a food processor. I find chopping vegetables soothing and meditative so I often do it when I need to relax and breathe. Sounds silly right? But it is true for me. Thanks to Food With Kid Appeal’s Jenna Pepper for the great idea yesterday on Facebook when I posted the picture of my CSA veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden!
Beet, Kohlrabi, Summer Squash, Apple, Basil ‘Pickles’
3 medium beets, sliced into matchsticks
2 medium kohlrabi, sliced into matchsticks
kohlrabi leaves, sliced thinly
2 small summer squash, sliced into half moons
1 apple, sliced into matchsticks
half a bunch of basil, sliced thinly
10g of sea salt per 450g of veggies – where to buy salt
Mix all the veggies with the salt for a few minutes with your hands – don’t be afraid to squeeze everything really well – you want to release the juices. Pack mixture into a fermentation vessel with a smaller glass jar until the veggies start to submerge in their own juices (they won’t be totally submerged but you will notice the air gets squeezed out quite a bit). Store in your pantry for one month – checking every week or so to ensure the vegetables aren’t turning brown (if just the top bits are brown that is ok, just stir a bit and pack down the veggies again. If it really starts to brown you need to throw them out). Otherwise you just wait.
I did this with beets and onions recently and it tasted just like sauerkraut – really complex deep sour notes and truly delicious. I have not had the same result pickling beets for a few days. I love those microbes and how nicely they flavor our food!