Fermented food is delicious and very healthy, and fermenting vegetables is very simple. You do not believe me? You don’t have to. Just try it and you will be surprised. It really is just a few minutes of work and delicious to eat. As you will notice I do not use any special equipment nor starters. I like to keep things rely simple, the way my family has pickled for generations. For beginners, cucumbers are a good way to start. This is a simple way to ferment them for eating right away as a fresh half-sour pickle. So, let’s get started!
Things you need
As a beginner you don’t need any extra equipment. Just use what you have.
1. A container or a jar. It can be any size or shape just not metal, so it does not oxidize. I prefer Ikea glass jars. For the fermenting process I take the rubber band out and put it back on for storing in the fridge.
2. A down pusher. Anything that holds the cucumbers down under the brine. I use a Tupperware shake insert, it fits well into my jars. A small plate with some weight on it would work too.
- 1 liter (32 oz) of boiled water
- 1.5 tablespoons salt for cucumbers, 1 tablespoon for other vegetables. (I use coarse salt and make the tablespoon heaped - do not use iodine salt!)
- Dill fresh or frozen in cubes
- 1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste
- About a teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2-3 slices of fresh horseradish root (it makes the cucumbers more firm, mostly I don't have any 🙁 )
- Some black pepper kernels
- 2 english cucumbers sliced - or a pound pickling cucumbers
- Put all the ingredients for the brine into a jar or container and stir well. Let cool down. Cut the cucumbers into inch big pieces and add to the jar so that they are all covered in brine. It will take about two English cucumbers. Little pickles from the garden or farmer's market are even better if available.
- Push the cucumbers down by using whatever fits into your container. In a bucket a plate with some weight on it will do, for a jar I use an egg holder :).
- Put in a warm place for 1-3 days, depending how strong you want them to be. They can be eaten right away.
Fermenting other vegetables
Using the same brine, you can ferment almost any vegetable you can imagine. Add a sliced pepper to the cucumbers, it looks very ornamental and tastes great. Some vegetables need a few days longer to ferment, all depending on your taste. I love carrots and also tomatoes – yummy!
If you want to get more advanced in Lacto-Fermentation:
Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey also wrote a book Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes.
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