Fermented Cucumbers

I’ve loved cucumber pickles since I was a kid. Fermentation takes them to a new level. Get fermented vegetable recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I’ve loved pickles since I was a kid. My mom put dozens of jars of dill and “sweet” (bread-and-butter) pickles through a water bath every year, and I’d sneak them like they were potato chips. But the longer the pickles sat, the less chip-like crunch they gave. Over the years, I’ve played with ingredients and canning techniques that have helped. Then I discovered fermentation.

Think about it: Cucumbers are best fresh and raw. Putting them in hot water is bound to affect their texture. Fermentation replaces heat with time and vinegar with salt. No wonder the result is crisper and fresher. And the flavoring possibilities—from dill to tea—are endless.

If you’ve never run a fermentation, I suggest you check out my introductory post from earlier this month. But here are the basics: Start with everything clean and fresh. Monitor the batch daily so that you can see the process. If you have doubts, give it the toss and start again.
Learn to make Fermented Dill Pickles and Fermented Tea Pickles

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Quick Ferments

When vegetables are sliced or pureed before fermentation, it’s easy to use them straight from the jar. Get veggie ferment recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
If you’re new to vegetable fermentation, you likely look at recipes and think, “Can it be that easy?” This instantly leads to the terrifying thought, “It can’t; surely I’ll get it wrong.” So to kick off this month’s recipes for vegetable ferments, I offer my most foolproof recipe for your first foray into fermentation. Here, the carrots actually aren’t fully fermented; they sit barely long enough to kick off the process. Still, they use a lot of the techniques that apply to full fermentation of other vegetables: salting, weighting to encourage the carrots to release even liquid, and a rest period to pull even more water and sugars from the produce. Because these carrots are prepared as thin ribbons, it’s easy to open the jar and slide a few onto a sandwich, into a sourdough pita, or straight into your mouth. The recipe is so simple that while you’re at it, you might as well prepare your own horseradish to go in the jar—especially if you’re growing it.
Learn to make Barely Fermented Carrots and Horseradish Paste

Fall Ferments

Fermenting vegetables seems daunting, but it’s far simpler than making cheese, baking bread, or even canning vinegar-pickled produce. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.

Fermentation is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, but it’s a technique that has become unfamiliar for modern home cooks. We still consume a lot of fermented foods, including dairy and grains, and we may even be brave enough to try those at home. But somehow fermenting vegetables seems daunting, raising doubts about whether we’re preserving or spoiling food.

Essentially, fermenting is souring via microbes. Microorganisms break down the sugars and carbohydrates in food, causing a chemical change that increases acidity and ultimately preserves the food. The process leaves no room for microbes that spoil food to move in. Properly fermented food looks and smells bright, crisp, and tangy, and it tastes just as bright, crisp, and tangy. A fermentation that has problems will be discolored, soft, and rotten-smelling; you’ll turn up your nose before it even gets near your tongue.

Most people think of pickled cucumbers or brined cabbage when they think of fermented vegetables. But many other vegetables, and even some fruits, can be fermented. In most cases, the only ingredients needed are fresh produce, salt, and water.

Read more about fermenting vegetables

Summer Vegetables

Summer means filling bellies not just with the freshest produce possible but also with preserved vegetables the rest of the year. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
If your garden isn’t in full swing yet, it’s about to be. Even here in Montana, with our long winters and short growing season, spring produce is beginning to wind down: Lettuces and spinach will soon be bolting, the asparagus crop has tapered off, and the strawberry bed has been picked nearly clean. In their place, summer produce is ready to burst forth, launching itself into the annual race to grow faster than I can harvest and process.

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen how I deal with spring’s vegetable bounty: #dailysalad. But with a large garden, summer vegetables need a different approach. The next few weeks are not just about filling bellies with the freshest produce possible but also about preserving those vegetables so that they can fill bellies the rest of the year. Here’s how I’ll be spending the next few weeks.
Read more about enjoying summer vegetables year-round