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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Feeling Pickled!

When life (or Mom) gives you a bunch of cucumbers and dill... you make pickles!
I have an issue with canned pickles. I don't like them. But I love the fresh deli pickles... and my husband could eat them all day long.

On to my next experiment in the world of fermentation. I spent some time searching the web for the perfect pickling recipe and the issue I had was that they all had relatively the same ingredients but different ways to put them together. Odd. Why would I heat up the salt and water? I didn't have to do that for any other fermenting. When it came down to it, I figured it was my experiment, I was going to do it My way (with help from several websites to figure out ingredient amounts).

Ingredients: Per jar
couple Peppercorn
1/2 tsp Ground mustard (can use more whole mustard seeds, but I used what I had)
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
bunch of Dill leaves and flowers
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (organic with mother)
3 Garlic cloves
Onion slices

Stuck everything except the onion and salt in the jar before adding the cut cucumbers. Add Salt.
Top with filtered water and onion. I used the onion to keep the cucumbers submerged in the brine. Put the lid on and shake it up.
I left these in the sink to ferment 4 days before I put them in the fridge. The water did get cloudy and bubbles appeared at the top while they fermented.
Before putting them in the refrigerator, I did taste them to make sure they were done and to my liking. I actually let them sit out another day before cooling them.

They are super tasty! and crunchy and I think that the onions even taste good. I am really amazed at how easy and fast this is to make. Why didn't I try this sooner?!

Have you tried fermenting anything lately?

Shared at: Blue Friday, Show and Tell,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fermenting Experiments

This summer has been fun in the experiment, idea, and travel departments. So many things to do! 

I have been enjoying the benefits of some food fermentation. My first thoughts when tracking down the recipes were, "This is easy!" With easy in mind, I wanted to tackle some of my favorites: Sauerkraut and Pickles! Let's discuss the Sauerkraut.
I love Sauerkraut. Yummm. And now after having the fresh stuff... I don't think I can ever go back to the store-bought squishy stuff.

What I used: 1 Giant cabbage. Sea Salt. Garlic. Huge Bowl. Mandolin. Knife. Mason Jars.
 I sliced the cabbage up in order to shred it with the Mandolin.
Every time I added a new layer to the huge shredded cabbage bowl, I sprinkled Salt over it. I might have used a total of 2 or 3 Tablespoons.
My little helper massaging the Salt into the cabbage.
 Once I finished slicing, I squished. You need to massage (squish) the salt into the cabbage. It doesn't take long to start feeling the wet brine all over your hands (hope you don't have any open cuts!). I squished for about 20 minutes for this entire mountain of cabbage until the pieces looked translucent.
It's wet!
I chopped up a couple garlic cloves at this point to give it a little spice and tossed it in with the cabbage. Then I started stuffing. I jammed as much Sauerkraut into each jar as I could and then pushed down so the brine covered all the cabbage. (In hindsight, I would have added a sliced onion or something on top to keep the kraut submerged.) Put the lid on and stuck the jars in a corner to ferment.

You can see the Brine a little in this picture. No water added, I promise.
Next time it would be a great idea to leave the jars in the sink to ferment since they actually bubbled over the top onto my counter leaving me with a bit of mess and smell to clean up 2 days later. I added filtered water to keep the Kraut submerged. The jars shouldn't be left in the sun, so it will have to be covered up. I tasted it after 3 days and put them in my refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process. Easy! (you might choose to leave it out longer, it is all to taste.) It would take longer if I chose to ferment all of it together too, but since they were portioned in jars, it was rather quick.

The result: Even though the cabbage started out green, after fermenting the Sauerkraut really is white. I am so glad I thought to add the garlic! It gave the Sauerkraut a bit of a bite. It has a really nice flavor and is still crunchy! So good.