Later On

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

Christmas ferment reprised

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Vegetables for ferment, prior to preparation: 2 red apples, 5 Medjool dates, large ginger root, 1 red cabbage, 1 red onion, a pile of garlic cloves, a bunch of green kale, and 2 large jalapeños
Not in photo due to oversight: 3 small beets

My previous Christmas ferment was so tasty I had to have another go. I’m following my usual method, which now includes more carefully rinsing and scrubbing the vegetables — the three small beets, for example, had been scrubbed with a vegetable brush under cold running water and put on the dish rack to dry, so they didn’t make the photoshoot — but they are in the ferment.

• 1 large piece of ginger root, sliced thinly by hand
• 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• 3 smallish red beets, coarsely grated
• 3/4 head of red cabbage, slice 1mm thick on mandoline
• 1 bunch curly-leaf green kale, stems removed and minced, leaves sliced thinly by hand
• 2 medium Pazazz apples, coarsely grated
• 1 red onion – halved, then pole-to-pole to make 3 sections of each half, then sliced thick
• a handful of garlic cloves, sliced thick
• 2 large jalapeno peppers, cap removed, then sliced thick by hand

I mixed the veggies as I went, ending with the three beets grated and mixed in. Total weight of ingredients was 2410g (5.28 lbs), so I added 60g fine sea salt and massaged and mixed the mass by hand for some time.

After I had the vegetables softened and some liquid developed, I poured in 1/2 cup spring water in which the starter culture had been hydrating, and mixed and massaged some more.

I packed my two 1.5L Weck jars, tamping the vegetables down well. This time I covered the veggies in each jar with a leaf of cabbage, a suggestion I’ve seen in a few videos. I added a fermentation weight to each jar and enough 2.5% brine made with spring water to cover the weight. Then I put the gasket and lid on each jar, took the photo, transferred to jars to a rimmed baking sheet, and put a large (19-oz) can of beans on each jar. (You could, of course, substitute cans of tomatoes or soup.) I don’t have a fermentation lock for these jars, but the weight on the lid seems to work, and any pressure build-up can lift the lid and burp the CO2.

I’m going to let these ferment for 3 weeks instead of my usual 2 weeks, so the batch will go into the fridge on April 11. I just yesterday had my first serving from the second jar of the fermented potatoes, so I won’t need this batch for a while. The three-jar method seems to work well if you start a new batch as soon as you have two empty jars. 

Update: I always start thinking about the next batch right after I make a new batch. Here are my thoughts now, for a change of pace in color:

• Green cabbage
• Lacinato kale
• 6 Cambray onions (including leaves)
• 1 large red apple
• 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
• Thin asparagus
• 4 jalapeños 
• Ginger
• Garlic

Ferment complete, 13 April

A bowl of fermented vegetables. Visible are red cabbage, green kale, and a small slice of ginger.

I meant to ferment this batch 21 days (3 weeks), but misremembered the date and went for 23 days. This morning I removed the fermentation weights and the top cabbage leaf and put the two jars in the refrigerator, and I just now took out enough for a bowl of it, shown at the right.

It’s very tasty — slightly sweet, with good flavor. Because I was careful with hygiene — rinsing the cutting board with vinegar, scrubbing the beets, apples, and ginger with a vegetable brush, and so on — I had no problems at all with any kahm yeast or mold. Possible using a cabbage leaf on top to seal off the vegetables in each jar also helped.

At any rate, it’s a great success, and I like this ferment so much I’m sure I’ll make it again.

Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 2:38 pm

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