Everybody likes some nice probiotic, home-fermented vegetables. But the process of actually doing such, and the equipment involved can be a barrier for most people (this author included). We've been quietly selling the Ferment'n home fementation kit in our store and online, so I decided to give it a go. If you're impatient, skip ahead to the natural pickle recipe I used below.
An ideal setup for home pickling requires a vessel, some form of airlock and a weight to hold your veggies beneath your brine. Here's what you get in this simple to use kit:
So in that box you get a nice round fermentation weight and a two-piece airlock that fits any wide-mouth mason jar. What's nice about this airlock compared with other solutions is its monolithic structure: you have no seams between the "bubbler" part and the lid itself. Once you fasten it down with a jar band, you have a sealed chamber as in a traditional water barrier fermenting crock.
As a homebrewer, for my first go I wanted to do something a little different than some cukes or kraut, I went with a nice spicy pepper mix. I have tried lacto-fermenting a hot pepper sauce before using a DIY approach, but as the peppers fermented, the solids raised above the brine and I ended up with a gnarly layer of mold taking over the surface. With that nice ceramic weight, this time I'm hoping for some mold free, tongue-searing delights in a few weeks.
The raw materials. I went with anaheims, habanero and garlic. One of the niceties of this setup over a traditional crock is that you can work with a small batch. For this experiment I'm just doing a pint.
Sliced n ready. I might enjoy them whole like this after pickling, or maybe blend it into a sauce with some cumin when it's done.
Don't touch hot peppers with anything except a fork or your mouth. Filling my jar with tongs.
Ain't nothin' but a salt brine bay-bah. I did like, a heaping tablespoon in a pint of water, as per Cultures For Health's recommendation.
Here's that ceramic weight doing its job. All vegetable matter is safely contained.
Here's everything assembled. The transluscent dome is the airlock. I filled it about half-way with some salty water.
After all was said and done I gave my pint of goodness a couple of bumps on the board and wiggled it to get any tiny air bubbles out from under my veggies. Be sure to check back with us in about a month to see how it went! I'm going to go ahead and predict "how it went" will be "awesome" and here's a recipe:
- chopped vegetables
- salt brine (2.5 tablespoons salt per quart of filtered water)
- place chopped vegetables in a jar, leave some room at the top
- cover vegetables with brine
- press chopped vegetables into brine using fermentation weight
- seal up the jar, gently agitate jar to release any trapped air bubbles
- add water to airlock, place the jar in a safe, dark place at "room" or "cellar" temperatures and wait.
I have some high hopes for this. The cool thing about it is once the fermentation is done, I can just put a regular lid on my jar and throw it in the fridge. If the results are good, it's no problem to scale it up to a larger jar.
UPDATE: The results were indeed excellent. I blended it up into a nice hot sauce. The natural fermentation process definitely marries the flavors of the garlic and peppers, and contributes its own piquant tang behind the capsaicin pop of the habeneros. I recommend you buy one from us.
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