I grew up with a mum who often pickled vegetables and fruit to store over the winter, but wild fermentation is something completely new to me… I came across a very interesting book, read it and got hooked: Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003. It’s so easy to ferment and you can really do it with almost anything! Lots of the things we have in our cupbords and pantries are actually fermented: yogurt, beer, wine, soya sauce and miso paste (it actually take about one year to ferment the soya beans into miso paste!)
This is my present fermenting project: I’m fermenting carrots! I wonder what they will taste like once they are finished. At the moment they are just very salty, but in time the salt will turn the sweet tasting carrots sour. Here is my very quick tutorial, remember to keep everything including hands very clean:
– a wide jar made of plastic, glass or clay and a cover (it needs to breath, but not let bugs or bacteria in)
– some kind of weight: a plate small enough to fit into the jar, but big enough to cover the vegetables, covered by a heavy (sterilised/ boiled) rock or a cup of water.
– vegetables (carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions …. anything will do really)
– sea salt
What to do:
– Clean and cut your vegetables into strips, slices, grind them or whatever you prefer.
– put them in the bowl and add some sea salt. For my test run I used about a table spoon of sea salt to three big carrots.
– add your weight and leave overnight.
– in the morning the salt will have let the liquids out of the vegetables enough to cover them (this is called “the brine”), if not, add cooled, boiled water until the water covers the vegetables.
– put the cover on and store the jar somewhere in reach. Check it every now and again and in a week or two taste them. You decide when they are ready. The longer you wait, the more sour they become.
Update 2015: Look at my new fermentation jar that my mother and father in law gave me for Christmas!!!!!! So much better. Can’t wait to use it 🙂