Honestly, when I started this blog, I thought I’d mostly write posts about food, and yet here I am on the seventh post and just now getting around to food. Weird!
Well, if this is going to be my first food post, it’s fitting that it be about fermentation. If you’re not already familiar, fermentation is probably the oldest method of preserving food. It’s the process that brings us beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, and–originally at least–pickles and sauerkraut. Nowadays, most store bought pickles or sauerkraut are made with vinegar, which is fine, but you really lose a complexity of flavor and a wealth of probiotic bacteria by quick pickling over fermenting.
Fermenting vegetables is super simple. You basically process the veggies the way you want them (diced, sliced, minced, whole, whatever!), add either salt to draw out the moisture inside the veggies or add a salt water brine, submerge the veggies under the liquid in a closed vessel, and wait a few days to several weeks until it tastes the way you like it. That’s it!
A few weeks ago, I had a cabbage that needed to be processed, and a few sorry looking root veggies rattling around the bottom of my produce crisper, so I knew it was time to make some leftover kraut. You can do this at home with basically any combination of vegetables you have on hand. I used one medium sized cabbage, two carrots, and two small turnips. I chopped them all up into roughly the size of matchsticks, mixed with salt, massaged until the veggies released their liquid, and packed into one quart-sized and one pint-sized mason jar. I don’t remember what day I set these out to ferment, but I finally tried them this past weekend, and they are perfect! Tangy, earthy, salty, and complex, this sauerkraut mixes well with scrambled eggs, salad, and works great served as a side all by itself.
There are tons of great resources on fermentation out there on the web, including Phickle, Food in Jars, and Wild Fermentation. This post just barely scratches the surface, but if there’s interest, I’d be happy to do a more detailed post on the basics, and some advanced processes, of fermentation. Leave me a comment if you’re interested!