Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Brussels sprouts and red cabbage ferment

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Not shown: five yellow cayenne peppers

The two 1.5-liter cylindrical Weck jars I ordered just arrived, so I thought I’d break them in by making a ferment from some vegetables I have on hand.. The photo at right shows the two new jars in front, the one I already had in back. My thought is that I can make a 3-liter (2-jar) batch, and when I finish the first jar of the batch, get another 3-liter (2-jar) batch fermenting while I finish the second jar of the first batch.

So I’m hoping the above will make 3 liters. If it doesn’t, I eke it out with some of the rapini I have on hand. And I did look at a recipe for ideas.

No need for rapini. (Sounds like book title, or perhaps an Italian movie comedy. As you see at the right, I had about 1/2 liter left over, which I will also ferment.

The first thing I did was put one packet of starter culture in 1/2 cup of spring water to let it hydrate and wake up.

I first thinly sliced the cabbage and the garlic cloves (the latter using my garlic mandoline). Those turned out to weigh 597g, so I added 12g of sea salt (actually 14g, so just a little over 2%) and massaged the cabbage and garlic well.

Then I thinly sliced onion, apple, ginger, and 5 yellow cayenne peppers and added those to the big bowl. Next, I halved each of the brussels sprouts and added those. At that point it was pretty clear that I was over the 3-liters, which was fine. 

The additional vegetables increased the weight by another 1552g, so I added 40g of salt (just over 2% by weight) and then massaged the whole thing for a while, to mix the vegetables and let the salt dissolve.

Once that seemed done, I added the 1/2 cup of water with the starter culture and massaged more, to make sure starter culture was well mixed throughout the vegetables. I then packed the jars as shown above.

I measured out 1 qt of spring water and added 20g of salt — again, just over 2% — and stirred to dissolve. I then used that brine to cover the vegetables in the jars. I added the fermentation weight and covered the jars. The 1-liter jar has a fermentation airlock, the two Weck jars just used the weight of the lids resting on the rubber gaskets. Now that I am both salting the vegetables with 2% of salt by weight and using a 2% brine solution of spring water, I don’t think I’ll have any problems. (See previous post.)

I’m adding a note to my calendar to remind me on November 19 that the ferment is ready for testing. Two weeks has so far proved enough time.

After taking the photo of the finished batch, it occurred to me that I could leave a little more room in the 1.5-liter jars by transferring some veggies to the 1-liter jar, so I did that. Now the Weck jar lids fit better. (You’ll notice the lid at the left in the photo is tilted open. I transferred enough vegetables to the 1-liter jar so that the lid now fits securely, and there’s also more room in the jar in case the vegetables expand somewhat.)

The next day, in the afternoon: Few things are so satisfying as watching the first string of small bubbles flow upward when you tilt the jar — tiny creatures hard at work, making food for me.

Fermentation complete!

Close-up of fermented red cabbage and brussels sprouts.

It’s now (Nov 19) been two weeks, so I’m shutting down the fermentation and putting the jars into the refrigerator. 

Salting the vegetables (2% by weight) plus using 2% brine worked very well — no growth of yeast on the top.

The Brussels sprouts are somewhat tough. Next time I’ll quarter them instead of halve them or — more likely — halve them and place them flat side down and then slice them. The smaller pieces would make easier eating.

That said, these are tasty. The five yellow cayenne peppers, not shown in the photo at the top, give the vegetables a nice warmth in the mouth. Good flavors overall. 

Except for the size of the pieces of Brussels sprouts, a success. 

Written by Leisureguy

4 November 2022 at 4:02 pm

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