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discussion of 'lacto-fermentation' methods and recipes

 
Posts: 6846
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Joanne McCartney wrote:All those spices sound great in the cucumbers. I see you are using some quart jars too. After buying a pack of a dozen, I have 6 left to play with. And the crock is now ready to go again because I packed up the sauerkraut for the frig last night.

What do you use to keep the vegetables submerged in wide mouth quart Mason jars? I have a smaller jar filled with water, but it kind of leaks over the top because it's a little smaller. I don't think I could put the caps on without worrying about the pressure, right?



I think I am the odd ball here....I use recipes from 'Nourishing Traditions' and Sally Fallon's method uses wide mouth quarts with one inch head space and the lid screwed down TIGHT...most of her ferments are just two day ones sometimes three so, for me anyway, there hasn't been any pressure to worry about when I unscrew the lid....In earlier posts above I have two of her recipes that explain that method....it works...the flavor is excellent...they keep well refrigerated.......I sometimes invert the jar for a bit of the time if it looks like things are floating...I don't shake it though...just gently invert and this is where you find out if the lid is on tight enough. I use a canning tip to line a wide mouth plastic lid. i can't seem to get away from plastic here, although I like this better than laying plastic on the food itself. I like the flavor of these pickles better than an open jar method, but that's where personal taste comes in....when using whey you can cut back on salt by half or more which I prefer also and mine do come out crispy.
Maybe, try some side by side comparisons if you have the produce...I keep thinking I will but i am stuck with something that works so reliably and is very easy, for me, at least:)....this morning, I had the jars all packed and lidded within 10 minutes of picking the cucumbers, finally with some nice dill.
I use cotton sleeves...long ones...cut from t-shirts, slipped up over the jars to keep out the light....that way i can keep the jars out where I don't forget about them.

EDIT...to mention that our house is pretty close to outside temperature...this summer has been much cooler and i haven't noticed a difference in ferment times...the summer it was above 100 every day and eighties at night was great for making tempeh and a little trickier for my vegetables. I imagine if anyone had airconditioning the ferments might take longer?

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two half gallon jars of ferments fill the bottom shelf of my tiny refrigerator
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cucumbers begun this morning with their sleeves pulled down for the picture.
 
Judith Browning
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Here's a link to Ollie Puddlemaker's recipe in another thread for LACTO-FERMENTED BEANS. no lid...just covered, out on the counter for three days.
 
Judith Browning
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just took the lids off of these after 48 hours.....nice and crispy still and that good fermented flavor........and finally some dill. i never can time it to be ready when the cucumbers are. There is a bit of cloudiness to the liquid towards the end of the ferment time that some say is when they are done...seems to coincide.


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cayene, mustard seed, dill...after 48 hours
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after 48 hours
 
Judith Browning
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I just tasted some of the fermented pickles that my son made....he added a few oak leaves to each gallon jar and they are the crispiest cucumber pickles I have ever tasted. I didn't realize that it would make that much difference. Unfortunately my cucumbers have played out for the year....the ones left are for seed. we both use suyo longs...he cut his into three inch lengths and I do slices.
I've been making some green tomato ferments, though, that I like even better than cucumbers and a tomato, onion, cayenne, garlic, sweet pepper puree ferment that we really love and some bean paste, although smaller amounts of the bean paste just for me, my husband was willing to try but finally admitted that he really didn't like it:).....and still all are the two to three day ferments with a tight lid....can't seem to branch out when it works so reliably for me.
 
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Hello,

New to fermenting. Started making my own milk kefir recently out of necessity really since my local grocery store stopped carrying it - really glad I did! Much cheaper and I'm not having to throw plastic quart containers in the recycling bin every few days. Decided to try sauerkraut as I read this is the easiest vegetable ferment to get started with. Not sure but I think I messed it up already. I used 2 heads of cabbage, shredded in my food processor, sprinkled each head with 2 tablespoons of pink Himalayan sea salt, kneaded, crunched with my hands, let sit for about an hour then packed it into 4 separate, wide-mouthed mason jars with a wooden spoon until liquid covered the cabbage. I only filled each jar up half way then took a cabbage leaf and put that on top of the shredded cabbage and tucked it in as best I could, then used the 2 part mason jar lids and screwed them on loosely, set the jars into plastic containers to catch any escaped liquid and put them in a dark room. My house stays at about 76-78 degrees with A/C. Started this on Sunday so today will be 4 days. So far I haven't seen any bubbling and I'm wondering if I should have filled the jar up closer to the top? I've read different amounts of time it takes to become sauerkraut - anywhere from 3 days to 8 weeks?

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Kraut Ferment
 
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Misty Ann,
At 4 days I wouldn't sweat the lack of activity. Give it a little more time.
My concern, though, is that since the covering cabbage leaf is not submerged in the brine, it might foster mold growth. Might be fine, but when I use that approach I put a flat rock on top to hold it down, and I make sure the leaf and rock are covered in liquid - even if I have to add extra brine.
One man's opinion.
 
gardener
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I agree with Myron on both counts. Don't worry about not obviously fermenting yet, and all of your food should be clearly underwater. Use a rock or something.
JohnS
PDX OR
 
Judith Browning
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I am absolutely addicted to the fermented bean dip recipe that I posted on the first page of this thread...........we are low on garden stuff right now for vegetable ferments so I am wondering about experimenting with rice or another grain??? I still have some soybeans left from when I was making tempeh (GEM is still without tempeh starter) and I'm thinking about trying them also. Has anyone done any ferments with grains instead of beans? I've been using cranberry beans lately because they are one of our favorites that I cook often.
I know "you can ferment anything" I am just a bit slow to try something new...it took me awhile to try the bean dip, just because when we lived without refrigeration we would sometimes have leftover beans out in the summer overnight and they weren't edible by morning.......really stinky stuff
...and does anyone think sprouted soybeans or any large sprout could work rather than cooking them?
 
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Judith, I haven't fermented grains to eat, but I have sprouted and fermented buckwheat and quinoa (separately) to make Rejuvelac. You can read about it here: http://www.rawmazing.com/rejuvelac/ if you're unfamiliar. I used the rejuvelac to make a vegan cheese.
 
Judith Browning
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Joanne McCartney wrote:Judith, I haven't fermented grains to eat, but I have sprouted and fermented buckwheat and quinoa (separately) to make Rejuvelac. You can read about it here: http://www.rawmazing.com/rejuvelac/ if you're unfamiliar. I used the rejuvelac to make a vegan cheese.



thank you! I have heard of Rejuvelac but not read up on it..........We sprout wheat over the winter and dry and lightly roast it for malt to grind as a flour variation so I'm already halfway there. Both wheat and lentils seem to sprout more easily in cooler weather. What do you do with the sprouts after making the drink? I imagine they would be good in a bread or stir fry or something? I think I'll go soak some wheat right now:)
 
Joanne McCartney
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I think I just threw them in with some brown rice that I was preparing. It was several months ago.
 
steward
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Judith Browning wrote:I am absolutely addicted to the fermented bean dip recipe that I posted on the first page of this thread

it is fermented bean crack, I tell ya!
Hmm, that came out wrong...anyway, it's great-especially with boiled eggs and stuff.
I've only made it with beans- red and white, mind you
I haven't tried it with another grain/legume/pulse-I bet it would be great though!
 
Judith Browning
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I'm interested in what everyone is fermenting fall and winter? cold weather stuff (even if it's not cold there now, Leila ............my kitchen is too cold for ferments most of the winter so I am trying some on a shelf above our wood stove and it seems to work OK for my bean dip.......this time I branched out a bit and added some grated store bought organic carrot. I have everything to try the carrot/ginger mix next...........I am being frugal with my whey as the goats don't kid until next month...then I'll have my milk supply back for cream cheese and whey.
 
pollinator
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It's great to read about all the natural fermenters out there, but it seems many people use refrigerator space for things like this that don't need to be very cold, only cool. In the old days, everyone had a root cellar, but now we like to have our food in the house with us. So I have been installing cool closets in my recent restorations. The basic idea is to use the cold water entering your home as the cooling source and insulate a closet really well. This is something an average handyman could accomplish. I've included a photo of the latest incarnation.
RichmondHous0049.JPG
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Judith Browning
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Bill Bradbury wrote:It's great to read about all the natural fermenters out there, but it seems many people use refrigerator space for things like this that don't need to be very cold, only cool. In the old days, everyone had a root cellar, but now we like to have our food in the house with us. So I have been installing cool closets in my recent restorations. The basic idea is to use the cold water entering your home as the cooling source and insulate a closet really well. This is something an average handyman could accomplish. I've included a photo of the latest incarnation.



This is one of those 'why didn't we think of that' moments For much of the winter here our water comes in in the low forties and many times drops into the thirties. We can't take on another project this winter but this sounds like a great idea..........similar to a spring house. I suppose that it might also take a bit of the chill off of the incoming water also.
 
John Suavecito
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I agree, Bill. I put mine in the garage. For centuries and maybe millenia, people didn't have refrigeration. Some Koreans would bury the pot in the ground, because it's cold in the winter there. We make dinner every night for the whole family, so we don't have a lot of extra space in the fridge. It's cool so it doesn't ferment that fast this time of year anyway. In the summer, I make much smaller sauerkrauts, because they ferment so quickly.
John S
PDX OR
 
Judith Browning
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John Saltveit wrote:I agree, Bill. I put mine in the garage. For centuries and maybe millenia, people didn't have refrigeration. Some Koreans would bury the pot in the ground, because it's cold in the winter there. We make dinner every night for the whole family, so we don't have a lot of extra space in the fridge. It's cool so it doesn't ferment that fast this time of year anyway. In the summer, I make much smaller sauerkrauts, because they ferment so quickly.
John S
PDX OR



No garage here, but I keep mine on the floor under a cupboard in the kitchen during the winter and do as you mention, make smaller amounts during the summer...some things, though, I think , just have to have colder temps or they turn soft if they continue to ferment so I keep in our small refrigerator.
Do you know the optimum temperature for keeping a ferment? I imagine even in the low fifties it would still be fermenting and maybe low forties it slows greatly?
I really like the idea of a 'cold' closet, cooled by the incoming cold water, though.....maybe built in under the sinks, as we don't need too much space for cold stuff and it doesn't need to be a walk in......we have thought of trying to adapt our cold water to a spring box type set up also.
 
Myron Weber
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Judith Browning wrote:Do you know the optimum temperature for keeping a ferment?



Judith -
If by "optimum" you mean promoting the beneficial lactobacillus that do well in cooler temps but suppressing the harmful bacteria that like warmer temps, then I researched this many years back. Couldn't tell you all my sources, but there was pretty good consistency in what I found from popular and academic sources. And my personal experience confirms the research, if that counts for anything.
Low 60s Fahrenheit or around 15-17 Celsius is what I took away as the ideal target for that purpose. Below that, the lactofermentation slows down a lot, and above it the growth of potentially harmful bacteria begins. Another factor, though, is consistency. It's better to have a consistent temperature even if it is slightly higher than the ideal than to have temperature that fluctuates. Temperatures up to the low 70s F are less ideal but the danger zone for the harmful anaerobic bacteria really starts in the mid-to-high 70s.
I used to have a modified mini-fridge with an add-on temperature sensor that kept the temperature at exactly 62 degrees. The ferments were great, but the sealed, cool, moist environment promoted mold growth so I had to clean it a lot. When the fridge broke, I didn't bother trying to replace it.
Now I usually ferment at around 70 F on a shelf in the kitchen and then stick it in the fridge.

If others have different facts/opinions/experiences, I'd love to compare.
 
John Suavecito
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Traditionally, much of the purpose was to preserve the food after the end of the harvest of vegetables so the people didn't starve. Then they noticed that they tasted good too. Then they noticed that they were more nutritious than the vegetables by themselves. Many people want to ferment the vegetables at a lower temperature so they will last longer and ferment more slowly. They last a very long time. Also many people like myself nowadays have families and they cook, so there is not lots of room in the fridge.
John S
PDX OR
 
steward
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I've got salt preserved lemons in process - these are really terrific in sauces. They are classic in Moroccan cooking, I think, but I'm not an expert. I tend to just blend them into a paste: skin, pith, flesh - everything but the seeds. I cut the lemons into sections before sprinkling with salt and stuffing into a jar, so it's pretty simple to get the seeds out.

A couple of fermented lemon wedges blended into paste, then dribble in oil as the blender runs (probably avocado oil, I can get that at Costco) and it makes a wonderful salad dressing!
 
John Suavecito
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Lemons are among the highest of all common fruits and vegetables in anti-oxidants and they are outstanding additions to the culinary repertoire. I would be interested in seeing what the effects are when they are fermented, Julia. Is the flavor less sharp? This is a reason why I ferment many vegetables, such as garlic, bitter melon, and amla.
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
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Yes. I could never eat a wedge of lemon, but I ate almost a whole wedge of fermented lemon the other day. (It had popped up out of the brine and had some white fungus on one edge. I used kitchen scissors to cut off the fuzzy part, and ended up just eating the rest of it.)

Salty, but yum!
 
master steward
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I am just learning to ferment and trying some experiments.  Thanks for all this good info.  I want to share this article which is helping me a lot:

/vegetable-fermentation-further-simplified

 
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I'm not quite a fermentation fetishist, but I have tried fermenting most things that I can for the past decade and consume fermented foods daily along with the rest of my family. Milk and water kefir, kombucha, sourdough, loads of sauerkraut, kimchi a thousand ways (with homegrown baby ginger), garlic, pickles, beet kvass, lemons, ginger-carrots, daikons, cortido, eggplant, zucchini, hot sauce, salsa (though we often just can it), grains, beer/wine/mead/cider (though not lacto-ferments). I don't eat unfermented soy foods but plan to grow an heirloom variety next year to make soy sauce and tempeh. And I really want to try nukazuke.

I started out with Nourishing Traditions and whey, but soon after starting skipping the whey and made truly wild ferments and preferred the results and simplicity and have never added starter cultures to vege ferments (though I have at times added brine from a previous batch - not sure how beneficial it is since it is such a dynamic process and brine from a mature ferment is likely radically different from a fresh one). I mostly use 1/2 gallon and quart jars, sometimes gallons and pints and typically use 1.5-2 T salt/qt (sometimes 1 T/qt), no airlock, lids tight, "burp" my jars for longer ferments, almost never leave 1" headspace and regret it (put your jars in a shallow tray), never have batches go bad. Kimchi I prefer fresher, 2-3 days tops. I let my sauerkraut go 2-3+ weeks, then typically refrigerate. Almost finished the root cellar, so I need to get more plastic lids and can store jars in there for the winter. Also, its past time I got a huge crock (not quite ready for a barrel) for kraut (we go through 5+ gallons/yr).

Kimchi on fried eggs is an amazingly delicious combination (and a breakfast staple). Sauerkraut goes well with about anything. Water kefir flavored with wild or homegrown fruit juices is natural soda pop. Real pickles are refreshing all summer and fall (and probably beyond, but they get eaten up - I use oak or grape or bay leaves for the tannin that keeps 'em crunchy). My daughter wants the fermented garlic cloves in the bottom of the whole dills before she even starts on the pickles. Fermented hot sauce (please add garlic) is so much richer and more complex than the fresh kinds I make. Zucchini pickles are crisp and take on whatever herbs/spices you add beautifully. Sourdough bread. With gobs of cultured butter. Amen.

As far as I'm concerned cultured food put the culture in culture. Fermentation is easy and ancient. Food preservation. Value- (and nutrition-) added. 80% of your immune system is in your gut! Try it!!!
 
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Kirk Schonfeldt wrote:... kimchi a thousand ways (with homegrown baby ginger),



I'm right there with you on the ease of fermentation. But how do you grow ginger in Iowa? Please share your method, and maybe even make a new post. I'm waiting eagerly to hear about it!
 
Kirk Schonfeldt
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Rebecca Norman wrote:But how do you grow ginger in Iowa? Please share your method, and maybe even make a new post. I'm waiting eagerly to hear about it!



Its not too technical, and this year was my first, so I'll probably get better, but I'm happy enough with my results this year (except that I wished I planted lots more). I started with store bought organic ginger and planted healed over pieces in a pot indoors in maybe March, then transplanted into the greenhouse around the beginning of May, watered when necessary, then dug a bunch up starting in late September. Its "baby" ginger as it hasn't fully developed its rough skin (which is probably what allows it to store quite well) but the flavor is still excellent and pungent, is storing fine so far, and I dug one plant and potted it up and brought indoors so we'll see how that does. Hopefully I can use that for planting stock next year. I'll plant extra next year regardless since I love ginger and would like to juice/freeze lots for use in water kefir/kombucha, chai, etc.

Cheers!
 
pollinator
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it's good someone found back this thread. I want to do more lacto-fermentation, since my Sauerkraut is going well ... It was much easier than I thought. Art (from the Art & Bri channel) shows it in this video: sauerkraut
 
pollinator
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i'm going to bump too. I usually have something fermenting (today it's chinese pickled limes). I just got back from a month away so had to throw away the kimchi at the back of the fridge (3+ months old?) and don't have any sauerkraut. We are at the end of winter so as soon as cabbage/chinese cabbage are real cheap I'll be making both. I generally pickle what is cheap and in season. I also do a lot of quick fridge pickles (not lacto) since we eat a lot of them (I learned to cook in Asia and pickles go with every meal).

I am really interested in making fermented sauces/ingredients used in Chinese cuisine.
If you haven't seen these videos, Sandor Katz (of fermenting fame) made a series of videos about fermenting in China. They are beautiful videos (there are a bunch, i'm not sure i've actually seen them all) that left me thinking there may be hope for mankind after all, and in the comments under the videos there are recipes.
 
steward
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Here is the recipe for the kraut that I started today:

4.8 pounds of mixed vegetables: cabbage, turnip, onion, garlic, carrot.

5 pounds of sunroots. (I stopped grating when I reached my target weight, since my crock holds 10 pounds easily.)

6 tablespoons of salt (1 tablespoon for each 1.6 pounds of veggies, my standard ratio)

2 ounces 5% vinegar.

The veggies quickly made their own brine upon coming into contact with the salt, so no water needed.

I had jalapenos available, but just couldn't bring myself to add one. And I didn't add turmeric or spices.

Then put the veggies into a crock. I put a plate inside the crock to weigh the vegetables down, and make sure they are covered in brine, and I put 1.5 pounds of weight on the plate, then put a non-sealing lid on the crock. It's sitting on the counter-top in the kitchen for a few weeks. Will bottle it when it tastes glorious, then store it in the fridge. Sunroots are a wonderful ingredient for lacto-fermentation.
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kraut recipe
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grated veggies for kraut
 
gardener
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I made  some sauer kraut this year. But I'm too scared to eat it. Sounds yukky.
 
Tereza Okava
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Sounds yukky.


Ha!! been there, I hear you!
I made some a few months ago, just after posting this, and left it in the fridge. Plain sauerkraut with dill and garlic. Tastes like a dill pickle but it`s cabbage. Best thing I`ve had all week. You may just be pleasantly surprised!

(and on a totally different note, when I was in high school i went to france and had a dish called chucrute aux poissons, which was against all logic the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. Sauerkraut cooked with a variety of fish, some butter. it was so memorable I spent years trying to replicate it. Cooking with sauerkraut sometimes produces some really surprising dishes!)
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Sounds yukky.


Ha!! been there, I hear you!
I made some a few months ago, just after posting this, and left it in the fridge. Plain sauerkraut with dill and garlic. Tastes like a dill pickle but it`s cabbage. Best thing I`ve had all week. You may just be pleasantly surprised!

(and on a totally different note, when I was in high school i went to france and had a dish called chucrute aux poissons, which was against all logic the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. Sauerkraut cooked with a variety of fish, some butter. it was so memorable I spent years trying to replicate it. Cooking with sauerkraut sometimes produces some really surprising dishes!)



On your head be it. May have a couple of beers first then give it a go. I was going to have the beer anyway....
 
Tereza Okava
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hope it's delish! and if it`s not, toss it, and try again. My biggest challenge is usually eating it while it`s still wonderful without forgetting about its existence in my fridge. (i have a lot of things in there!)

take it easy on the beer though. my recently departed uncle in law was an alcoholic, specializing in heavy booze. He always told the story of a pickle he ate that made him so sick he had to go to the hospital. In his version, the pickle nearly killed him (not the gallon of homemade sugarcane moonshine he drank). We still laugh about The Danger of Pickles. Be careful! lol
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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My family suffer from 'Rainey Flu' which normally hits us the day after a party. The number of Boxing Day  mornings my mother would say...I think I'm going down with flu......
Nasty bug, that one.
Good warning about those pesky pickles.....
 
Judith Browning
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I made  some sauer kraut this year. But I'm too scared to eat it. Sounds yukky.



I wonder if you've tasted it yet?
...and if by 'this year' you mean fairly recently? and once fermented it's in the refrigerator?

Mine has only gone bad when I over ferment and it turns to mush.  
It still smells good but is an unpleasant texture, so it goes in the compost.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I have never had it before so I'm not sure what it is supposed to taste of. Frankly it is just like salty cabbage after 3 months. If I mix it with carrot and mayo it would make good slaw. Very crunchy, slightly vinegary smell but very slight.
 
Tereza Okava
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still crunchy after 3 months??? it must be SUPER cold where you are! 3 months for me even in the fridge and we`re talking slime city.
sauerkraut is a bit vinegary, not necessarily a lot but could be, with just salt you will probably only get that sour taste. I like to add caraway, cumin, other things to jazz it up a bit.
 
Tereza Okava
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Joshua Michael Holtzapple wrote:If your in a temperate climate and your not growing these I don’t know why... I absolutely love them fermented in a 2 percent salt brine it’s crushed red peppers and garlic for two weeks plus.  It’s amazing.


This post may be the reason why I was snagging seeds from a plant on the side of the bike path a few weeks ago. I have seen these plants but when I ask locals about the roots they all look at me like I'm nuts (admittedly this happens a lot). Will sow some when I start my fall seedlings. (I'm in Brazil, this week I'll be headed to the metropolis of São Paulo and on the side of the highway as you go into the city outskirts they are EVERYWHERE, a crazy beautiful thing to see on the side of the road. Where I live it's a bit cooler and they're not as common).
 
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Fermenting green tomatoes with chilies is something I've done for 4 years now, with 20 or so pounds of green tomatoes and 10 pounds of chilis, come autumn frosts.  After it ferments for about 8 weeks, I puree it, pour it into 10 or 12 quart jars and put them in the freezer to eat year round.  Remove a jar from the freezer and add some allium, cumin and coriander to taste. It's a little too sour to eat like a salsa with chips I think, but honey or shredded carrot or something can fix that.  I usually cook with it.  Mash it up with avocado and it's like the best guacamole ever.
 
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