Monday, June 4, 2012

The Fermenting Idiot

I'm not really following recipes anymore for my fermenting food. The pickles we made were super spicy but probably the best pickles I've ever had. I wonder how much more flavor they'd have had after longer than three days. I may have to hide a jar somewhere to find out.

Thanks for an ongoing food swap with my neighbor (eggs for veggies), I've been overrun with squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. So this morning we did a massive effort and filled every spare jar we had in the house. Assuming that we can use 1 quart of pickled veggies as a side dish at meals, that's about 18 meals where we'll have some veggies to eat.  The two jars of salsa don't count as they'll go fast on their own.

The recipes mostly just call for brine in these but I'm using a little bit of whey and apple cider vinegar mother in order to give them a big headstart. I love the flavor of the vinegar so it's a plus.

I like having fully prepared side dishes for 18 meals set aside. It took about an hour and a half to do that. Very time efficient. In addition, the fermentation adds extremely beneficial bacteria to our diets and helps heal and improve our digestion. We've eaten so much industrial food over the past few months that it has corrupted just about all of us. And finally, this process loses almost no nutrients as opposed to heat canning. The food will last a very long time (longer than we'll end up keeping it for) and is extra healthy and delicious.

We are so blessed that a neighbor turned us on to this fermenting method and sent us home with some jars so we could all try it. Praise God as we learn the old ways and live a healthier and simpler life.


ladyhawthorne said...

How long do fermented veggies keep on the shelf? Do they need to be kept in the fridge?

Ernest said...

Unknown on the first question! They taste so good they don't last long around here. I have heard from others that they'll last a year or so but that the texture begins to become mushy until all that is left is goo. Much like raw milk, it doesn't go "bad" it simply changes flavor and consistency until it reaches a point where you'd rather feed it to the pig or chickens.

People have been fermenting foods for at least 7,000 years. They'll last at least between harvests and probably longer. Even if they don't last very long, fermented veggies are far superior in taste and nutrition. Would you rather eat kraut or cabbage? I prefer kraut myself.

If you can keep them cool then it slows down the fermentation process inside but it won't stop it. I have too much going on to store those things in our small fridge but the root cellar should suffice. Right now we mostly pile them in an out-of-the-way corner of the cabin (behind the woodstove). When I get shelving in the root cellar they'll go down there. They don't have to be stored in the fridge as this was one of the methods people developed long before refrigeration.

Try some. Start with salsa. You can do salsa with extreme confidence. Between the tomato acid, the vinegar, and the lactobacilli in the whey you could just about seal up a dead mouse in the jar and still have everything in there be edible after a week.

ladyhawthorne said...

It all sounds good except for that mouse!