Later On

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

Beets & Leeks ferment once more

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Ingredients for a ferment set out on a cutting board: 7 long skinny leeks, 1 fat carrot, a good-sized ginger root, 4 red beets, 5 red Fresno peppers, 6 Medjool dates, 1 Honeycrisp apple, 8 large cloves garlic.

I do love Beets & Leeks as a ferment. I made my first batch just because I like saying “beets and leeks,” and the recipe was improvised. The previous batch (my second, more elaborate than the first) was excellent, so I’ve kept an eye out for some good-looking leeks. On Wednesday I found some — long and rather skinny, but lots of white. Pictured above is the full cast for this batch:

• 7 skinny leeks — sliced thinly by hand; the top leaves are saved to use in cooking
• 8 large cloves of Russian red garlic — sliced by hand into thickish (~2-3mm) slices
• 1 Honeycrisp apple — halved vertically, then sliced on mandoline into 1mm slices
• 1 large red onion — sliced on mandoline, first into 1mm slices but that’s too thin, so then 2mm
• 5 red Fresno peppers — sliced by hand, including core and seeds
• 6 Medjool dates — pitted and chopped by hand
• 4 beets — I used only the two largest beets, and I grated them on a coarse grater
• 1 Nantes carrot — coarsely grated
• Ginger root — about half what’s shown, sliced on mandoline into 1mm slices

I mixed as I went, following what I’ve learned through experience. (See this post for summary of lessons learned.) Below you see it the veggies after being prepped — on the left, after being mixed with a spatula; on the right, after adding 55g grey sea salt and massaging. As you can see, after salting and massaging the veggies are considerably wilted. After massaging the veggies, I found I had tight-fitting leek rings on several fingers.

Why 55g salt? The total batch in the bowl weighed 3531g, and the bowl is 1135g, so I had 2396g (5.3 lbs) veggies. I decided on a 2.3% salt mix, and 2.3% of 2396g is 55g (55.108, but come on). 

I had put my starter culture in 1/2 cup spring water to rehydrate when I was about halfway through prepping the vegetables, so it was (presumably) now awake and active. After I felt the veggies had been sufficiently mixed and massaged with the salt, I poured in the starter culture water and massage some more to ensure the culture was dispersed throughout the veggies.

Two jars side by side, filled with red chopped vegetables.

I still had some Brussels sprout and red cabbage ferment in the 1.5-liter Weck jar in fridge, so I transferred the ferment to a 1-liter jar and washed out the Weck. I don’t have a fourth Weck (two are busy with the Christmas ferment), but I do have a 1.5-liter widemouth canning jar. 

The 5.3 lbs of veggies fit the two 1.5-liter jars quite well. I put a fermentation weight in each jar and added 2.3% brine to cover, then put the lid on the Weck and a fermentation airlock on the canning jar, as shown.

This batch will be ready New Year’s Eve — a celebratory batch. And then I’ll have 6 liters of fermented vegetables on hand, which should last me a good while.

God bless us, every one!

And it’s wonderful! — again

I had some of the finished batch. This is really an excellent recipe, always tasty (and fun to say).

The details of the outcome are in a later post, but the photo at the right gives you a good idea of the colorful appearance of the finished ferment.

This is the one I would enter at the county fair.

Written by Leisureguy

16 December 2022 at 3:27 pm

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