For this badge bit you will ferment/pickle something in salt brine.
- could be: kraut, kimchi, carrots, jalapenos, curtido, etc.
- at least one quart
Some general guidelines are (adapted form The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz):
1. Chop or grate vegetables
2. Lightly salt the chopped veggies and pound or squeeze until moist. You can also soak the vegetables in a brine for a few hours, or just add a brine solution to the vegetables.
3. Pack the vegetables into a jar tightly, so they are forced below liquid. If necessary, add water.
4. Wait, taste frequently, and enjoy!
Recipes and methods may vary from little salt to very salty, chopped vegetables or whole, one vegetable or combination of, using whey or another starter or just the salt brine, using open vessels, or with lids, or air-locks. The limit is one's imagination.
Here are a few links to recipes, and other useful information about lacto-ferments:
Pack sliced cabbage in crock at a rate of 3/4 cup salt per 25 pounds of cabbage. Add brine(1-1/2 tablespoons per quart of water). Let sit 3 to 6 weeks per taste. Keep airlock functioning through that time.
This batch is 6 heads. 4 from my garden, then 2 more from store to fill crock. You don't want too much headspace in the crock. FILL IT!
I water bathed it after ferment as this is a year supply.
This recipe is from the book "The Hands-On Home" By Erica Strouss. If you wanted to infect some brains to the people out there with a "clean" home coated in chemicals, this may be the gift to make the shift.
Recipe 2 lbs carrots trimmed, peeled, and shredded
1 bunch cilantro, trimmed and chopped
1 (4-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
Zest and juice from 1 lime
1 TBL plus 1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground curry
1/2 tsp ground cumin
about 1/2 C water
Used brown mustard seeds, cut out 1 tsp of salt as well as the coriander seeds. Hardly needed any water to add at the end, the salt drew most of the liquid out of the veggies while it was set aside.
Two ways - cabbage only, and carrots + beets + cabbage
Save a few big outer cabbage leaves to top the mix... see details below.
Slice cabbage thinly. (Mandolin or V-slicer rocks for this, just quarter the head first, leaving part of the core in each quarter to hold it together.)
Julienne the carrots and beets, ie 1/8" square by up to 3" long.
For a 1/2 gallon canning jar (as in photos below), done with cabbage only, put 3.5 lbs of cabbage in a large bowl with 2 Tbs salt. (Metric is better for this, because you want salt to be 2-3% of the weight of the vegetables... so 3.5 lbs = 1589 g, so you want 32 - 48 g of salt. I went with about 36g.)
Mix the cabbage / salt together well.
Allow it to sit for 30 - 60 minutes and the cabbage will start to sweat and brine will appear in the bottom of the bowl. You can skip the wait if you're willing to massage it together vigorously to accelerate the process. Why fight nature... just wait.
Pack the cabbage into the canning jar. A canning funnel is very helpful for this. When the jar is full, use whatever you have on hand to squish it tightly down to the bottom. I used the back end of a large soup ladle. A big wooden kraut pounder like the one in Robbie's 3rd photo above would be very nice for this. After squishing vigorously, add more cabbage and repeat. The quantities above should fit in a 1/2 gallon canning jar with a couple inches headspace.
Be sure to pour all the brine from the bowl into the jar. Ideally it will completely cover the vegetables. If it doesn't, see brine directions below.
Take one of the cabbage leaves you saved at the beginning, tear it to size, then use it to cover the top of the solution in the jar so nothing floats up. (I went a little big and pushed the edges down so it's like an umbrella. This wasn't a brilliant idea as you'll hear later.)
I you have something to help hold the vegetables under the surface, put it in now. Options include canning weights, clean washed rocks, or a 4oz canning jar sitting right on top.
If you don't have enough brine to completely cover the vegetables then make some and add it (1C water + 1/2 Tbs salt). Leave some headspace though.
If you have an airlock top, put that on. Otherwise just make sure the vegetables stay under the surface.
For the second canning jar I mixed julienned carrots and beets with about 2lbs of sliced cabbage, to bring the weight up to 3.5 lbs. All the rest of the directions are the same. However, the cabbage only jar released enough brine that additional wasn't essential. The jar that had some carrots and beets didn't release enough brine to cover things well, so I mixed some up as directed above, and brought both jars up to roughly even levels.
Two late notes...
1. I got a surprise after about 36 hours... the gas bubbles coming from the ferment in one jar got trapped under the cabbage leaf I put on top and started to push it up. After the gas bubble got reallly big I opened the jar up, pushed the cabbage leaf down to "burp" it, and tore the edge a little so hopefully the gas will escape on it's own next time.
2. I think that being picky to keep everything under the top of the brine (with the cabbage leaf, weights, etc) is not essential if you're using airlocks like I did here. I think that things reaching the surface is only a problem if there's oxygen there... and it should be pushed out through the airlocks by the gasses coming from the ferment. But that's what I think from reading recipes, and I'm no expert.
I’m at my folks’ place, and there is this incredible wild garlic that just dominates the shores of the creek near the garden. It is the most delicious garlic at that, and beautiful, with flecks of red ascending from the bulb.
I picked a bunch today to use for several recipes, and thought I’d try fermenting them as well.