Latest Ferment – Spicy, Tangy, Smoky

by Meg Cotner on August 23, 2011

carrot radish chipotle ferment

I’m a big fan of lacto-fermented foods, and I especially like lacto-fermented vegetables. I love sauerkraut but I especially love fermented root vegetables. I fell in love with them after the fermentation workshop I took with Andrew Faust a few years ago. There is just something magical about how all vegetables change in the fermentation process.

Of course, lacto-fermentation shoots up the nutritional value of what is fermenting, especially the vitamin C levels. Natural probiotics and beneficial enzymes also flourish. This is yet another reason to consume such foods.

When I got back from Washington, I looked in the fridge and saw that I had some CSA carrots and radishes left over. I thought fermenting them would be a great way to preserve them.  The carrots were tiny, so grating them would have been a pain (perhaps even literally, as I was using a box grater), so I decided to slice them thinly into rounds, just as I was slicing the radishes. Then I figured that onions and garlic would be a nice addition.

Finally, I wanted to make them spicy. I didn’t have any fresh peppers on hand but I did have a bunch of dried ones. I love smoky and tangy together, so I chose to use a few of my dried chipotles.

I also wanted to use a brine with a smaller percentage of salt. More salt means the food with ferment faster, but lately I’ve been dissatisfied with the saltiness of the end product. I’d been using this brine: 1 tbs of salt to 1 cup of water. I referred to Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation, and saw that he uses a weaker brine for some things: 3 tbs salt to 4 cups water.  I decided to try it out, though I did halve it, as I wasn’t making a huge batch of vegetables.

I am very happy with the results of this ferment! It took a little longer to get to where I wanted, but I love the salt level, flavor-wise. But I love how it’s turned out – it’s not overly salty at all, it’s smoky, spicy, and tangy. Perfect!

This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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{ 1 comment }

natalie July 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

doesn’t lacto-ferment mean with whey? if not – then where is the good pro-biotics coming from? what can you use instead of whey? and can you direct me to a good source for making yoghurt and thus whey?

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