Fermenting Vegetables - Anyone Done It?


Boone

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Some of you know I am a homebrewer and also have dabbled in kimchee making, both of which involve fermentation. I worked a night shift recently with a young lady who is into medieval role-playing and part of that is learning methods of self-sufficiency of all kinds. I had randomly mentioned that I'd developed a 'pickle problem' recently, acquiring a serious fondness for some 'Half Sour' dill pickles that are made locally. The pickles aren't really 'pickled' with vinegar, but have been fermented. It's hard to describe them. At first taste, I immediately noticed a 'funk' that would normally be a little off-putting. But I endeavored to persevere, and after a few samplings I became absolutely addicted to my funky little pickles.

My young work friend told me that she ferments all manner of vegetables and gave me enough info to pique my interest. So today, I packed some quart jars with fresh green beans, broccoli/cauliflower, carrots, and sliced radishes. To each jar I added a generous amount of cut garlic cloves, fresh dill, and in some of them a couple tablespoons of red pepper flakes. I covered the veggies with a simple salt brine and put a loose lid on them. They should start fermenting in 2-3 days and then taste-testing will begin. Once they have a taste to my liking they'll go in the fridge which will drastically slow down fermentation.

Here's a little information site I found if anyone's interested in trying it. If you want to incorporate 'probiotics' in your diet, this is nothing but lactobacillus-filled vegetables and is likely 1000x more effective in providing you healthy gut flora than any expensive supplement you could find. I'm doing it because I love pickled and fermented items and want to see if I can produce tasty vegetables with this method. @Goaldeje - thought you in particular might be interested?
 

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Goaldeje

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Interesting, this is great, thank you. I've had something similar to this at a local brewery that I have really enjoyed quite a bit. Our CSA just started so any left over (non-leafy) veggies that we have each week may get this treatment.

Also, I will add we are seriously addicted to Kombucha, which is similar (fermented tea rich with probiotics). Locally here in town, Blue Ridge Bucha is expanding their footprint and getting offered all over the East Coast which is awesome. I love to see local people do well, and they are as zero-waste and sustainable as possible - really great group of people. If you ever see any of their kombucha, try it - you'll probably love it. Our oldest-still-at-home graduated last weekend and we had a keg of kombucha at her gradutation party. That, combined with the compostable plates, napkins, utensils, etc was the hit of the party. The food I made was good too, but the graduates really loved the other stuff.
 

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I remember my cousin canning sauerkraut...they fermented it for a couple days I believe. Deeeeee Lishhhhh Ussss!
 

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Moved the stuff into the fridge after 4 days at room temp. Man - it's pretty good! I tried to get my wife to taste it, but she's not adventurous and can't get past the sour fermented taste. It's definitely reminiscent of kimchi. I may even add some gochugaru flakes to some of it in the future. All of it is quite tasty. Will definitely continue playing with this.
 

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Moved the stuff into the fridge after 4 days at room temp. Man - it's pretty good! I tried to get my wife to taste it, but she's not adventurous and can't get past the sour fermented taste. It's definitely reminiscent of kimchi. I may even add some gochugaru flakes to some of it in the future. All of it is quite tasty. Will definitely continue playing with this.
Pretty sure we talked before but you gotta try cucumber kimchi, Much better than cabbage imo
 
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Boone

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Been buying a local brand of 'half sour' pickles lately. If you're *cough* older or of my generation, you might remember going into a general store or hardware as a kid and seeing a big ol' barrel of pickles there. They most likely weren't 'vinegar' or dill pickles like we tend to expect, but they would've been 'half sour' - whole cukes that have been fermented for a week or two in brine along with garlic or other spices.

I just love these things. They are salty and flavorful and crisp with a certain indescribable 'funky' taste to them.

I'm going to try and replicate the taste at home. Heading to a local farmers market in a bit to see if I can find some good pickling cucumbers.
 

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3 different mixes - one with just pickling spices and garlic, another with fresh dill added, a third with red pepper flakes.




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Damn those sound good, was actually wondering how pickles were prepared the other day too.
 

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Making a batch of kimchi today. Basically 3 tasks. Cut, slice, and salt cabbage (I used a huge head of Napa cabbage and a head of nom choy). Prep other vegetables (I used garlic, scallions, sliced carrot, and radish). And make the kimchi paste - which is the most complicated part.

I combined a cup and a half of Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru), a little soy sauce, green onion, Vidalia onion, garlic, some fish sauce, a handful of cooked shrimp and a bit of the water I cooked it in, some rice flour, a little sugar, and some liquid from my previous kimchi batch.

In a couple hours I will rinse the cabbage repeatedly to get rid of most of the saltiness. Then I’ll rub down the cabbage with my paste and add the other vegetables. It will all get packed into a fermentation container and that’ll stay out at room temperature for three days. Then it goes into the fridge where it will keep almost indefinitely.

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Boone

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And here it is put together and going into the fermenter for the next 3 days...

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Dude that looks damn good, bet it turns out fantastic!
 

Boone

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It's really pretty simple to do. Only ingredient that isn't widely available is the gochugaru (red pepper flakes). That you either need to order online or go to an Asian or Korean marketplace for. They usually sell them in 5 - 10 lb bags though and consider most recipes call for a cup or two of it, that will last you a long time. You can also order kimchi past online if you'd rather make it super easy.
 

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After coronapocalypse I’m definitely down with making/growing our own food. The wife has been on a ear making homemade biscuits, sweet rolls, regular loaves, etc and it’s really nice.

still, my favorite kemchi is cucumber, though cabbage is pretty awesome as well. Getting that spicy paste down pat is the tough part.
 

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