Fermentation

Lemon Preserve

lemonpreserve

Yield: 1 quart                                                                                                                                                     Fermentation vessel: 2 quarts or 1 quart Mason jars with an airlock and ceramic weight or a fermentation crock

8 whole lemons, regular or Meyer                                                                                                                                 ½-1 cup unrefined sea salt, plus 2 tbsp.                                                                                                                   freshly squeezed lemon juice, as needed

Rinse the lemons in cold water. Slice the nubs off the ends of each lemon, then slice the lemon lengthwise as if to quarter it, but leave one end intact. Let the lemon open in the palms of your hand like a flower and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt into its center. Remove the seeds and put the fruit in a large bowl. Rub generous amounts of salt in and around each lemon.

Take a wooden spoon or masher and press the lemons down in a jar or crock and pack them tightly, then continue slicing, salting, layering, and packing lemons until no more remain.  Make sure that they are completely submerged in their brine, weighing them down with a ceramic weight or sterilized stone if necessary.  To fill to the brim and ensure immersion, add freshly squeezed lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the surface.
 

Close your fermentation with either crock lid, an airlock, or a mason jar metal or plastic lid. Set aside out of direct sunlight and cool for about a month. Check periodically to make sure the lemons stay submerged.

The lemons will be ready after 21 days but can go longer if you like. Properly preserved lemons taste salty and softly sour without the abrupt tartness of fresh lemons, with no residual bitterness in the rind. If the rind is still bitter, reseal the crock and continue fermenting them for another week or two before tasting them again. When fermented to your liking, transfer the lemons to the fridge. They’ll keep for two years.

Unique Add-on's:                                                                                                                                                   Cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, whole cloves, coriander seeds, juniper seeds, and bay leaves. For a South American flavor add garlic, onions, coriander, cilantro and plenty of hot pepper

lemonpreserve

Where to get fermentation supplies: Preserved Goods, Oakland Ca
 Adapted loosely by Jennifer Gruther in the Nourished Kitchen

Beet Kvass

beetkvass

Russians downs two things most: vodka and beet kvass, but probably not together...maybe. beet kvass has been around for almost 1,000 years and was originally lacto-fermented from stale sourdough bread but now commonly made with salt brine.

THE GOODS

  • Zero sugar
  • Abundant flora
  • High in fiber
  • Cleanses the liver
  • Purifies the blood

Tangy. Earthy. Salty. Addictive. You can add fresh mint or ginger during the fermentation process for a different kick. 

Ingredients

2-4 beets
4 tbsp. of sauerkraut juice (optional – speeds up fermentation & adds lots of healthy probes)
1 tablespoon sea salt or himalayan salt
filtered water
half gallon glass jar

Method

Wash your beets and peel (if not organic) or leave skin on (if organic)
Chop them in to small cubes all the same size.
Place the beets in bottom of half gallon jar.
Add sauerkraut juice and salt (If you don't want to use sauerkraut juice, you can double the salt instead)
Fill your jar with filtered water.
Cover your jar with a towel or cheesecloth and leave it on the counter at room temperature for 2-7 days to ferment. You can start tasting it at day 2.
Transfer it to the fridge.
Drink it. I drink about 4 oz. a day

Loosely adapted from the Wellness Mama

Classic Sauerkraut

Krautingredients

Our ancestors have been using fermentation techniques to preserve foods for centuries, and by traveling the world, we can see each country’s take on the age-old tradition. In Mexico, salt-brine is commonly used to culture carrots and jalapenos (also known as escabeche), in Korea it’s kimchi, in Japan there is miso, and in Indonesia it’s tempeh. Moving west, India incorporates lassi to deliver good bacteria to the body, and Ukrainians make yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.

Fast forward to today, and crafting krauts in the kitchen is becoming more and more common. Lacto-fermentation, a traditional method of preserving vegetables, produces enzymes that increase the digestibility of foods. Similarly, it creates a host of healthy flora throughout the intestines for slowing and reversing a variety of illnesses, improving digestion, strengthening immunity, clearing skin issues, and increasing energy. In preserving our food in this manner, it becomes our ally.

If you are new to fermented foods, start with one tablespoon of kraut or fermented vegetables with each meal, and work your way up from there. The good news is, you don’t only have to eat them the way you’re used to hearing about kraut (read: alongside your bratwurst). Try enjoying kraut in a scramble, mixed into a salad, on a reuben or over avocado toast.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

1/2 gallon fermentation crock with ceramic weights (I love Sarah’s Kersten’s crocks) or
1 quart Mason jar with an airlock seal
 

INGREDIENTS

2+ pounds of red or green cabbage (medium head)
Shredded beets, carrots, fennel, ginger or seaweed (optional)
1 tbsp. sea salt (add 1 tbsp. per 2 lbs. of cabbage)
1/2 tsp. each of caraway, celery, and dill seeds

THE BASICS

1. You’ll want to have your equipment and your ingredients ready. Make sure you wash either your fermentation crock or your mason jar with warm water. If you are using the mason jar method, make sure you fill the airlock up with water to the maximum fill line. Airlocks are a fool-proof way to prevent mold or scum from happening, and allow carbon dioxide to release during fermentation while also preventing air from entering and oxidizing the kraut.
2. Use fresh, organic (preferred) cabbage, and wash it thoroughly.
3. Wash your hands before beginning. Cut the cabbage into quarters, removing the base of it. Slice the cabbage as thin as possible using a knife, or if you are comfortable, using a vegetable mandolin. Slice other vegetables if you are using them.
4. Place your sliced vegetables in a large bowl and add salt, and other optional spices. Using your hands, massage the cabbage until it starts to feel very wet. This could take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
5. Now it’s time to pack the cabbage into your crock or mason jar. If you are using a crock, fill it up 75-85%. Next, pack the cabbage down with your fist, the bottom of a bottle, or any creative flat surface that is clean.
6. Place the fermentation crock lid or the airlock lid over the kraut vessel, and store it in a cool, dark place or pantry. You can start to start to taste the kraut by day five (it should taste tart and tangy). If you wish to intensify the flavor, you can continue fermenting it for longer.

ITEMS TO NOTE

1. Don’t be afraid to start tasting your kraut on the fifth day.
2. Don’t be afraid if you see mold or scum growing on the surface. Simply skim off as much as you can. There is significantly more good bacteria than bad, and the good bacteria will win this battle.
3. To slow down the fermentation process, store your kraut in the refrigerator with a standard lid.

Recipe published from Jessica Comingore at The Elysian Edit

Fermented Asparagus

pickledasparagus

These spears from the Lily family have been known for their medicinal properties for over 2000 years.

Contains glutathione, (more than its other common vegetable friends) the mother of antioxidants that is responsible for detoxification.

Is a diuretic, which helps healthy elimination of toxins and issues in the urinary track.

For those with slow bowels, asparagus gently encourages digestion.

Best shaved raw, lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled. Drizzle some olive oil and sea salt. Or pickle them like above and increase your vitamin B intake (brains + energy). Watch out, they make your pee rank. 

FERMENTED ASPARAGUS
1 bunch asparagus (ends trimmed)
1 tbsp yellow/ brown whole mustard seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp sea salt
2 cups warm water

Dissolve sea salt in warm water for brine. Let cool. Coarsely crack mustard and coriander seeds briefly with a mortar & pestle. Leave asparagus whole or chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Place all ingredients in your fermentation vessel of choice and pour brine to cover completely, leaving about an inch of headspace from the top. (If using whole asparagus our tall, pint & a half Ball jars work great!) Be sure that veggies are completely submerged underneath the brine using a ceramic weight or other creative option. Cover with a loose lid or an airlock lid and let ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, checking for desired flavor and firmness. Then refrigerate and enjoy!
Recipe from Elizabeth Vecchiarelli from Preserved Goods

Spring Tonic Vinegar

springtonicvinegar

SPRING TONIC VINEGAR

Infused with nettle leaf, horsetail, fresh parsley and rosemary, this vinegar will tone your internal organs, cleanse your urinary tract, remedy antibacterial or anti-fungal issues, improve memory and mental clarity. Plus, strengthens bones, hair and nails. This is a win-win situation. 

Spring Tonic Vinegar

Ingredients

¼ cup dry organic nettle leaf

¼ cup dry organic horsetail

½ cup organic parsley

½ cup organic dandelion leaf

½ cup organic rosemary

Apple Cider Vinegar

Quart Jar

Directions

**If you are using all dried, or all fresh herbs, simply use equal parts.

Coarsely chop all herbs and combine in a quart jar.

Cover with Apple Cider Vinegar. Place cap on tightly and shake vigorously. Label your jar with your ingredients and the date. It's really easy to forget what's inside, so labeling is key. Place in a dark, dry place and shake daily. After a month, strain herbs through a muslin cloth into a clean quart jar or over a large bowl, squeeze out the herbs to get every last drop. Also, I recommend using a plastic cap as it will be less reactive with the vinegar than the usual metal caps, which can cause them to rust. 

According to Mountain Rose Herbs, you can either take this Spring Tonic Vinegar straight, a couple of tablespoons a day, or you can toss it with some spring greens to make a really delicious salad. I will try them all. 

Recipe from The Mountain Rose Blog

Carrots + Jalapeños, Escabeche

I used to love being the first in my family to open up a can of pickled jalapeños. My mother would buy LA COSTEÑA brand and in it would be packed with whole jalapeños, carrot slices and onions. My favorite part were the carrots but there were only about five coins of carrots in there and they tended to be a little on the soft side. Nonetheless, the flavor was absolute, spicy and salty...perfect with eggs, tamales, tacos...

Now, let's fast forward to my 20s. I still loved canned pickled jalapeños but I knew that they were loaded with poor quality salt, vinegar and preservatives. In other words, they weren't offering my body any good...so why eat them? 

It wasn't until I started to ferment my own sauerkraut when it suddenly occurred to me that I can pickle/ferment/culture any vegetable or food that I wanted. Making homemade ferments and cultured food are like science experiments, so at this point, what couldn't I make?! All I had to do was look it up and tweak it to my liking. And to me that meant, adding lots of carrot coins and jicama slices. 

So, here it is... ESCABECHE...or pickled Mexican carrots and jalapeños. 

What you'll need: 

1.  Make a brine by dissolving 1.6 oz of kosher or pickling salt in 1 quart of filtered water.

2.  Prepare enough jalapenos, carrot, jicama and onions to fill a clean 1 quart glass jar with a lid about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Wash the vegetables.  Slice the onions.  Peel and slice the carrots. Peel and slice the jicama into rectangular chunks. And slice, halve, or leave whole the jalapeños, you're choice.

3.  Put the veggies in the jar.  Cover completely with the brine.  Weigh down the veggies so they stay completely submerged.  You can do this with a small plastic bag filled with water or a small glass jar that fits inside your larger jar, also filled with water or a cement weight used for fermenting.

4.  Close the jar and set it on the counter for 2 weeks.  Then remove the weight and store the escabeche in the fridge.

A few fermentation tips:
Use non-reactive equipment in good condition.  Scratched and damaged equipment may harbor undesirable bacteria that could spoil your fermentation.  Glass, stoneware, and stainless steel are all good choices.  Copper, brass, and iron react with acids or salts and cause off flavors.

Don't use iodized table salt, as iodine is an anti-microbial and will likely inhibit your fermentation.

Use fresh produce.  Older veggies have tougher skins which may resist fermentation; and spoiled produce already contains undesirable bacteria that may ruin your fermentation.

Feel free to add whole spices such as peppercorns, bay leaves, or oregano for additional flavor, but avoid ground spices as they may make the brine cloudy or result in strange color changes. I highly encourage you to use these spices, as they are what makes the escabeche taste like they are fresh from a Mexican restaurant or taco truck.

Some lacto-fermentation recipes call for the addition of a teaspoon or two of whey, which you can get by draining off of yogurt.  This is fine, but not necessary.  Your veggies will ferment with or without whey. The juice from a live-culture sauerkraut will work just as well as whey, if you want to kick-start your fermentation.

Happy experimenting!

Recipe from Silver Lake Farms in Los Angeles

Carrot & Cabbage Sauerkraut

The bubbles indicate fermentation happening. I put cheesecloth over it to prevent dust and flies from getting in. After a few days, I close the hinge and let it do its thing. 

The bubbles indicate fermentation happening. I put cheesecloth over it to prevent dust and flies from getting in. After a few days, I close the hinge and let it do its thing. 

Timeframe: 1 to 4 weeks (or more)

Special Equipment:  

  • 2 quart (1/2 gallon) glass jar or jar with hinge top
  • Small plate or ceramic weights that fits inside glass jar or crock 
  • Cloth cover (small linen, cheesecloth or coffee filter)

Ingredients (for 2 quarts/ 1/2 gallon):

  • 1 large cabbage, green or red
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • optional* 1 tablespoon each of caraway, celery, and dill seeds - grind them with a mortar and pestle or other grinder

PROCESS:

  1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts. I like to alternate my batches from red to green cabbage. Whichever you like. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it. 
  2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. About 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I don't measure the salt, I just shake some after every layer of cabbage that I throw in the bowl. Sandor Katz, who wrote Wild Fermentation, uses more in the summer and less in the winter. He also says that it is possible to make kraut with less salt or with no salt at all. 
  3. You can add other vegetables! Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables like onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, beets, ginger, and fennel can get thrown in there. You might want to slice them thinly or in chunks. You can also add fruits such as, apples, whole or sliced are classic, and herbs and spices like caraway seeds, dills seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries. Really, you can do whatever you like it, it can take some exploring and experimentation. It becomes real fun. 
  4. Mix ingredients together and pack into glass jar or crock. Pack just a little bit at a time, tamp it down with a fist. This helps force water out of the cabbage.
  5. Cover kraut with a small plate or something else that fits snuggly inside the crock. Place a clean weight, such as a ceramic weight for fermenting or a small glass jar filled with water on top of the kraut. This weight forces water out of the cabbage even more and helps keep it submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep the dust and flies out. 
  6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and to help force water out. Continue to do this periodically, every few hours or so, until the brine rise above the cover,this can take up to 24 hours.                                                                                             *If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about 1 tbsp. of salt to a 1 cup of water and stir until dissolved. 
  7. Leave the crock to ferment in a cool and shady spot where it's not in the way.
  8. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold occurs, it's not a problem. Just scoop it out. It won't hurt you if you can't get it rid of it all. Skim off as much as you can. This is just a result of air contact. 
  9. Rinse off the plate or ceramic weight. Taste the kraut. Generally, it starts to taste tangy after a few days and gets stronger with time. In cooler climates, kraut can keep improving for months. In warmer climates, it ferments a lot quicker. 
  10. Eat up. Eating a serving at a time or transferring some to a jar is convenient. Make sure the kraut stays packed tight in the jar, the surface is level and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes the brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below the brine, just add water as necessary.
  11. You can use some of the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut, this gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.  
This is another way you can start fermenting your kraut. You can use a large glass jug or plastic food-grade bucket and use a quart sized Mason jar filled up with water as the weight to tamp it down to squeeze out water from the cabbage. 

This is another way you can start fermenting your kraut. You can use a large glass jug or plastic food-grade bucket and use a quart sized Mason jar filled up with water as the weight to tamp it down to squeeze out water from the cabbage. 

After 3-4 weeks, I start to chow down on it. The cabbage is soft, tangy but still has a bit of a crunch to it. I add a couple of tablespoons to every meal. Kraut is full of digestive enzymes that help you break down your food and absorb nutrients better. I have noticed a vast improvement on my digestive health and my immune system due to eating kraut everyday.