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How about a fermented veggies thread?

post #1 of 341
Thread Starter 
Anyone interested in talking about their favorite ways to make fermented veggies? I love my veggie ferments, and I think they deserve as much respect as yogurt and kefir (which are also staples in our house). Fermented veggies are living foods that can heal and balance the digestive system, plus they're delicious to boot!

Right now I've got sauerkraut and brined garlic brewing on the counter, and tomorrow I'm hoping to start a new batch of kimchi. I'd really like to try something fun like ginger beer sometime soon, and am open to any new ideas!
post #2 of 341
I am just getting started on fermenting veggies. I did my first sourkraut last week and it is so so so very good. Way better than I thought it would be. Of course it is taking every bit of self restraint not to cook it with a pork roast or god forbid hot dogs!!! I want to try kimchi next. How do you do your garlic? I love garlic so maybe I shouldn't know...I might become obsessed! I also want to try pickles but am kinda scared I will screw it up some how. I am a well rounded cook, so I do not know why I feel so intimidated by ferments! I guess I just need to try.
post #3 of 341
I've been reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz. Awesome book! Well... there are lots of weirdnesses, but also a TON of good recipes. I can't wait to try some of them. I got the book from my library because I didn't want to buy it without knowing more about it. I think I'm gonna have to buy this one...
post #4 of 341



I'm making borsht for lunch today. I cook potatoes and carrots and peas in stock (I prefer beef, but I have chicken), and then once they are cooked and the heat is off, I add in some l-f beets (I don't to it like in NT, I chop them, smaller than regular pickled beets, but big enough that they are pieces, yk? they are a bit crispy, still) and saurkraut.
post #5 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by missi66
I am just getting started on fermenting veggies. I did my first sourkraut last week and it is so so so very good. Way better than I thought it would be. Of course it is taking every bit of self restraint not to cook it with a pork roast or god forbid hot dogs!!! I want to try kimchi next. How do you do your garlic? I love garlic so maybe I shouldn't know...I might become obsessed! I also want to try pickles but am kinda scared I will screw it up some how. I am a well rounded cook, so I do not know why I feel so intimidated by ferments! I guess I just need to try.
That's great that your sauerkraut turned out well! That seems to be one ferment that a lot of people have trouble with! For me, it was a bit of a stretch learning to eat it raw, since I always ate it cooked before. Now if I heat it, I fry up some onions in butter then I toss in the sauerkraut just to heat it up a little. As for garlic, well this is honestly the first time i've tried it alone, so I'll let you know how it turns out, but what I did was pack about 3-4 c. cloves into a quart jar, then I covered it with a brine solution made of 2 c. cold green tea, and 1 Tbsp sea salt. I thought maybe the tannins in the tea would help to keep the garlic crunchy. In Wild Fermentation, Katz talks about using plants with high tannin content to keep veggies from going soft. I know green tea doesn't have a very high tannin content, but thought it might help anyways. This summer I hope to collect some labrador tea leaves which are very high in tannin content, to use in my fermented veggie crocks.


Quote:
I've been reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz. Awesome book! Well... there are lots of weirdnesses, but also a TON of good recipes. I can't wait to try some of them. I got the book from my library because I didn't want to buy it without knowing more about it. I think I'm gonna have to buy this one...
I finally bought it too. I like his recipes much better than SF's, and I love the diversity- flipping thru the book totally inspires me!

Brisen- your soup sounds awesome! When I made sour beets, I shredded mine. They turned out great. Only made them once, but I have a big bag of beets in the fridge so if I get my kimchi done, I might get to them in the next day or two.


Has anyone made their own ginger beer or root beer? Thought this might be a good way to get my dh to start on fermented foods (he thinks it's totally creepy). I am specifically wondering about sweetners. I don't want to use refined white sugar, but would it be better to use honey or Rapadura?
post #6 of 341
Ohhhhh ... garlic.
post #7 of 341
Does anyone use whey as per NT directions? When I do the veggies are slimy. But I've since read and been told not to use whey but just salt. Any thoughts on this? The WF book is on my list and this thread is convincing me to go ahead and buy it. And what about crocks? I recently had some super sauerkraut and the maker of it told me that the Harsch crocks make a lot of difference.
post #8 of 341
I use whey and have never had trouble. NOt sure what to suggest for the sliminess. Or I use the juice from the last batch or a combo of both.

We're a kimchi family all the way. Love the stuff! I also regularly make the salsa, which we also eat like there's no tomorrow.
post #9 of 341
Thread Starter 
Yitlan, how long does your fermented salsa last? I had some in the fridge that went moldy on the top, not sure why. I used frozen tomatoes instead of fresh, could that have anything to do with it? Do you have a recipe, or do you just throw in whatever?

Carnelian, I don't usually use whey, except in my mayo because the whey is supposed to help preserve it longer. I don't find, for small batches at least, that you really need extra salt either. As for crocks, I would love to get my hands on some! but for now, I just use glass jars. It drives me nuts though- people collect crocks as antiques to sit on shelves and look at, so I can't find any to make my fermented veggies in!!
post #10 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibou
Yitlan, how long does your fermented salsa last? I had some in the fridge that went moldy on the top, not sure why. I used frozen tomatoes instead of fresh, could that have anything to do with it? Do you have a recipe, or do you just throw in whatever?
I know it's lasted about a month. THat's the longest I could keep my family from eating it up, though! I don't know that frozen tomatoes would make a difference. I use the recipes in NT and Eat Fat Lose Fat. NTs is with fresh tomatoes and EFLF uses canned. I usually leave out the oregano b/c I don't prefer it in my salsa. I don't always put in hot peppers, just depends on what's around!

I would suggest using whey if you had mold, though. Maybe it would help keep it at bay?
post #11 of 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibou
It drives me nuts though- people collect crocks as antiques to sit on shelves and look at, so I can't find any to make my fermented veggies in!!
: Bastards (am I allowed to use that word here? Ya know I'm kidding though, so it doesn't count right?)
post #12 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siana
: Bastards
thanks for your empathy Siana!

Has anyone made the NT ketchup? How is it? My ds loves ketchup (Heinz)- I try to get organic, but it still has lots of sugar in it. I might be able to get him to eat homemade if it tastes/textures similar.

Also, I've been looking for ideas on this for awhile- fermented hot sauce. DH is a hotsauce junkie. How could I make a fermented hot pepper sauce?
post #13 of 341
Perfect timing! I'm just now getting into NT and wild fermentation.... so I have sourdough, kombucha going.... and a batch of batter for idlis bubbling up right now. I'm loving this- I feel more connected to my food.

So DH brought home a ton of snake green beans, and okras. Any ideas on fermenting those? Tips? I've only done pickled veggies, canned in vinegar, so this will be my first fermented veggie experiment! NT says to add whey.... I don't have whey handy, but could make yogurt cheese to get some whey if it'd be really necessary. I'd love to have your tips on making something simple that would turn out well. Okras... I would hate for them to get slimy. Yuck! Maybe a corn okra relish kind of thing? Ideas?

Does the whey really preserve fermented veggies longer? Wondering... since I'll be making a big batch of okras and snake beans and we probably wouldn't be able to eat it all in a month or two. What are your experiences with mold? Could I keep them in the basement, instead of taking up space in the refrigator?

And- do you always use wide mouth canning jars? Is it really important? I don't have very many wide mouth ones handy, and plenty of regular size ones.
post #14 of 341
Oh, and on the crocks... another fermenter I know uses the crocks from crockpots. Great thing to do with those, they're usually abundant in thrift shops.
post #15 of 341
I always use wide mouth canning jars (or one of the two small crocks I have) simply because I can't pack the veggies as tightly into the jars as is needed when I use a regular canning jar. I don't have anything that will fit down into the mouth of the regular canning jar, but if you do, you could probably use those, too.

And while there's a lot of things I'll try at least once (twice, if it hurts ), okra in any way, shape, or form is not one of them. I freakin' hate okra! So I'm absolutely no help to you there.
post #16 of 341
On using crockpot crocks ... Don't they need to be airtight? Everything I've read on the crocks says that they need to have an airtight lid. I don't think the lid for a crockpot crock would work for that, would it? That's a great idea, though, as they are much more readily available!
post #17 of 341
If using a crock, put a plate that fits into the crock on top of the veggies. Put something on top of it to weight it down. This will force the liquid up and keep the veggies submerged and away from air.
post #18 of 341
The WF books suggests using recycled crocks (like from a crock pot) and there is no mention of a tight fitting lid. He suggests a plate with a rock or other weight on top of it.

I'm just getting into fermenting my own foods. So far all I've done is sourdough bread, but I have a big list of foods I want to do. I have a cabbage in my fridge waiting to be fermented later today. NT's ketchup is also on my list, I'm watching for answers to whether it was good or not.
post #19 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boadicea
On using crockpot crocks ... Don't they need to be airtight? Everything I've read on the crocks says that they need to have an airtight lid. I don't think the lid for a crockpot crock would work for that, would it?

This is one issue I totally disagree with Sally Fallon on. Natural fermentation uses the "beasties" from the air to work, so IMO, covering things while they are fermenting is more likely to lead to spoiled batches. I prefer Sandor Katz's approach in WF too- weigh down veggies with a plate (if using a big crock) or just pack them down under the brine daily with your hands, and cover the tops with a cloth. The only time I've had something go bad while it was fermenting was when I didn't pack it back down under the liquid every day.
post #20 of 341
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou

And- do you always use wide mouth canning jars? Is it really important? I don't have very many wide mouth ones handy, and plenty of regular size ones.
I use every size of canning jar. I have a spoon that I've bent into an "L" shape and that's what I use to pack down veggies in jars with smaller mouths.
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