Even beginners can make their own fermented foods! This guide includes in-depth instruction for making kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles and then offers more than 120 recipes using the same methods to make over 80 other fermented vegetable and herbs, including pickled Brussels sprouts, curried golden beets, carrot kraut, and pickled green coriander. Many of the recipes can be made in small batches (such as single pint). There are also recipes for using the fermented foods.
Fermented Vegetables is a well organized and educational cookbook. I have come to realize that Lacto-fementation is an important part of a healthy diet; and this book provides plenty of wonderful options. This book is full of useful tips and information, including troubleshooting, and how and when to ferment your vegetables
I've only just finished reading this book, so haven't yet made my first batch of fermented vegetables, so I can't speak to any of the recipes. The information in the book itself was quite interesting however. The authors are very up-front about where other books have influenced their own and are somewhat conversational in their style of writing.
Several years ago, I tried my hand at fermentation, following a recipe precisely and being very careful along the way. The resulting pickles were enough that my family hasn't tried fermentation since. The cucumbers held up, but were way too salty. Worse, everyone who ate them in the house ended up with a sore throat. Presumably, something was wrong with the fermentation process to cause this. It's had me leery to try fermentation again without owning a lot of specialized equipment.
Having read this book, I can see some of the problems with the recipe I used and am thinking to try my hand at some Kraut and Pickles sometime again in the near future. I like that they spend time addressing salt. That they avoid pickling salts was a surprise, but they explained it well enough that I find myself agreeing with their logic.
They also sprinkle interesting facts through the book that broadened my knowledge base beyond just the fermentation. The best example of this was a notation about the eating of uncooked cabbage. My wife has done so a great deal growing up, but didn't realize it was agitating her hypothyroidism. They offered up advice to allow her to enjoy fermented Kraut without running into this issue in the future, so we are both very happy about that.
This book has offered me a lot of information and opened up a sense of hope that I don't have to lay down a huge stack of money on special equipment or follow exacting recipes just to enjoy something that mankind has been doing for such a long portion of its history. I'd certainly recommend this book for anyone who is a beginner and especially for those who've had issues in the past with fermentation gone wrong. If the ferments turn out well, I may have to go back and adjust the rating upwards.
Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes
by Kristen K Shockey and Christopher Shockey
This book has single-handedly revived my enthusiasm for fermenting foods. It's not new but I only recently learned of it and while I have been fermenting a wide variety of foods for decades, I had lost energy for pickling and then eating vegetables. It seemed like all I did was make things that were kind of a relish or pickle plate addition to a meal, instead of being more the focus of the meal. I still kept sauerkraut and some pickles in the fridge regularly, but had just focused on other preservation techniques.
Laid out in the following sections:
Dipping Into the Brine: Fermentation Fundamentals
Mastering the Basics: Kraut, Condiments, Pickles, and Kimchi
In the Crock: Fermenting vegetables from A to Z
On the Plate
it covers a lot of territory in easy to follow language.
I was intrigued by the recipe for celery "stuffing" that I saw someone on youtube mention from this book and checked it out from my library. Instead of the recommended sage, I pickled chopped celery with dill and then made a simple 3 ingredient chicken salad with it - chopped poached chicken, homemade mayo, and fermented dilly celery - and it was one of the most flavorful chicken salads I have ever made! I was sold, and bought the book to add to my home resource library.
I also made fermented red onions with lime. I typically have a jar of pickled onions to throw onto tacos or sandwiches, but they lose their texture pretty quickly - these fermented guys are very flavorful (they reek for the first few days of fermenting) and keep a nice crunch for a long time.
Next on my list is a hot and smoky kraut and blaukraut, a red kraut with apples that they recommend turning into a side dish with toasted walnuts and blue cheese. Which brings me to the On the Plate section, which is really what excited me. They have a nice variety of recipes and suggestions for using the ferments from breakfast to cocktails and dessert, either as a shortcut like the chicken salad or as part of a meal in ways I hadn't thought of before.
The book also has a lot of info for beginner fermenters, with a great section on equipment and ingredients, basic recipes, and a "Scum Gallery" to help trouble shoot. It is nicely laid out and photographed. I think it will benefit and invigorate anyone from beginner to expert and is easy to find either new or used (or from your local library!)
This book has been mentioned here before, but since it is new to me, I thought it might be worth re-introducing to others new to the forums.