One of the things I love about fermenting is, you can do just about everything but the kitchen sink! You are not limited to one veggie or another. You are not limited to simple kraut or pickles. In fact, I have found myself wandering the produce aisles going “gee, I wonder what that would taste like?” So, on a recent fermenting spree, when I was cutting up different veggies to do, I decided to toss some of them all together in a jar and see what would come out. I am after all an adventurous type of girl!
What resulted was awesome. It was like one of those boxes of chocolates you get at Valentine’s Day with the assorted flavors…. yeah it was like that but with veggies! With fork in hand I plucked veggie after veggie, first a radish (oh my goodness!), then a piece of cauliflower (delicious) and so on and so on. My hubby soon joined me with his own fork, and before long the country kids were begging at our sides.
So what simple steps did I do to create what we now call “Everything But the Kitchen Sink?” It was super easy…… First you need to pick our veggies. I used radishes, carrots, cauliflower and cucumber in mine, but you can use what ever your favorite veggies are. Keep in mind, veggies with firmer texture hold up better in the fermentation process.
I also threw in a few garlic clovers to give the whole thing some yummy added flavor. Once I was done chopping, it was time to pack the jar. I threw my veggies in all mixed up, no particular order, so they could mingle during their time on the counter. Make sure your veggies are well packed in, leaving about an inch space to the top of the jar. Next I added my brine (aka salt solution,)
For a pint size ferment, in a different pint jar, I combined water and salt. The amount of salt you use, depends on how strong you want your brine. I used 1 TBS and 1 tsp of pink ancient Himalayan sea salt I got from Fermentools to get a 3.5% brine. If you are doing a larger size batch, and trust me, my batches will be getting larger as I become more addicted to this process, you will need more salt and water. The ratios are so easy to find when you the Fermentools salt.
I then poured my brine solution over my veggies to an inch from the top of my jar. I next placed my glass weight on my veggies (because they float) to keep them under my brine. Why should you care if your veggies are submerged? Well, because in order to ferment properly the veggies need to be in an anaerobic environment, aka lacking oxygen. This allows the good bacteria, lactobacillus, to do its thing and make yummy, healthy food. So submerge your veggies!!!
I put my lid and airlock on my jar and left it sit for a week on my kitchen counter. If you don’t have an airlock, you will need to “burp” your jar ever few days. “Burping” allows the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process to escape. It is a good thing to use and air lock or “burp” or you run the risk of an exploding jar. Burp your veggies!
After about a week, I HAD to do a taste test. It was killing me to wait. And ya know what? We already have established, they were good, right. So I popped them in the fridge…. and I waited another week…. and they were better. And at three weeks? The flavors just got better! Waiting is hard, but your taste buds will thanks you.
“Pickling” food uses vinegar as the preserving agent, where as fermenting uses SALT. The salt is the kick in the butt, so to speak, to start the chemical process of breaking down the sugars in the food. Fermenting and Pickling are two different food preservation methods.