I've been making saurkraut for a while, but have really been wanting to make a mixed vegetable fermentation, but kept thinking.......oh too hard, don't have the proper jars etc. I went to a workshop a few months back, where I watched and learned but still didn't take the plunge, just continued with the cabbage on it's own......and then the Farmer's Market at Blue Knob, a hamlet about half an hour south of here, had a Fermentation Festival, where I tasted the most divine mixed vegetable kraut imaginable. It was made by a local woman who casually chopped and broke up a mix of vegetables, eyeballed the brine mix and stuffed it all in jars, talking and answering questions and telling anecdotes about her failures and successes, all at the same time.
|Part of the crowd enjoying the various fermentation talks|
A mix of vegetables chopped and ready to be loaded into jars and the brine added...........
Here I have cauliflower, which I broke into medium size pieces, carrots, quartered longways and chopped, zucchini, the same, there are beans and broccoli from a friend's garden, including the broccoli stems. I added 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and a chunk of ginger, chopped roughly......these are both organic from the Farmer's Market..... and a half a home-grown chilli. I could've added dill, peppercorns, cloves or other spices of my choosing, but since I didn''t have any, I just used what I had to hand.
For my brine, I used 2 cups of filtered water .....not tap water, you don't want chlorine and other chemicals in your yummy vegetables.....and a tablespoon and half of coarse sea salt. It must be sea salt, not iodized kitchen salt, as the iodine prevents fermentation and can make your kraut taste pretty awful. You can adjust the amount of salt to your preferred taste, using between 1 and 1 and a half tablespoons of salt...after trial and error with the cabbage I found this suits me...I'll see how it goes with the mixed vegetables and adjust next time if it doesn't suit.....some recipes suggest 2 tablespoons, but I found this too salty for me.
So then I spooned all the vegetables into jars that I'd washed and sterilised in the oven, and to one, I added some pieces of chopped turmeric, fresh from a friend's garden, just to see if I like it. I know turmeric's good for us, but it doesn't mean it's going to make my kraut taste good. I pushed the vegetables down to get rid of air bubbles, then poured the brine over, leaving a couple of inches space at the top for expansion. Pushing it all down again, I put a cabbage leaf on top, pushing again, so the vegetables stayed under the brine. The leaf acts as a weight to keep the vegetables under the brine.
I did a bit of research before making my kraut, just to see what sort of vegetables fermented well, and what to leave alone and some of the sites and blogs I looked at suggested using kraut-crocks...fancy ceramic pots with special weights to hold the vegetables down.....I priced these and at $70 + each, plus postage, I decided to give them a miss, and instead bought these 3 wide mouth jars at the cheap shop for $2.99 each, and the taller one I'd bought kraut in the previous week at the Whole Foods Store, so cleaned it up, and reused it. Costwise, that tall jar cost me $14 ..... the produce from the Farmer's Market was $18, but not all of that went into the kraut, as I bought eggplant, potatoes and avocados as well, and don't have a breakdown of individual items, but still excellent value I think.....the small jars filled weigh 1100gms and the tall recycled one holds just under that. Without being too precise, 4 jars for around the price of one.....not bad, since I eat this with every meal. I haven't talked about the health benefits, but it's enough for me to know it's good for me, but there's lots of information out there if you'd like to know more, just google fermented food. Here's a couple of my favourite places to get you started -http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2012/02/how-to-make-lacto-fermented-vegetables.html
I'll now leave the jars on the kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight, and in a couple of days, will "burp" them, to let excess gases escape. Then by day 4 or 5 I can have a taste and if it's to my liking, it can go in the fridge and I can start eating it, but if I want a stronger flavour, I'll leave it out longer, tasting daily until it's just right. I can't wait!
And all those trimmings off the vegetables...the chooks enjoyed those.
till next time.........