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Vegetables and Nuts


Zodiac Fermentation: Aries Inspired Red Curry Sauerkraut

assorted-vegetables 
Photo by Pyramid Ferments

Thank you for joining us on our fermentation journey through the zodiac! We will be expressing each zodiac sign’s characteristics through different fermentation recipes and methods. Today marks both International Astrology Day and the beginning of Aries season, so what better way to celebrate than with an Aries inspired Red Curry style sauerkraut.

Aries is the traditional first sign of the zodiac and also marks the Spring Equinox here in the Northern hemisphere. I think it's a good way to start as Aries embodies much fiery and enthusiastic energy to express, so they can help us blaze a trail forward in our journey through the zodiac.

Aries can be bold, active and fiery conglomerations of burning desire. Impulsive, head strong, hasty; they thrive on getting things started, inspired and stirred up. They are the first to try a new direction and will take you with them on a wild adventure. But deep in the forest they'll be happy to have you there with the food and matches you remembered to bring.

Magnetic and inspired, they leave an impression. They will always try, always take a shot at whatever they have set their sights upon. Nothing wagered, nothing gained and they will keep on trying for that thing; whether they should or not. They don't admit defeat and aren't as affected by failure as the majority of humans. This can be a blessing or a curse. Love and empathy; learning to understand other people and the consequences of their actions, are key to their sustainability.

Aries is represented by the Ram, a nod to their headstrong, head first approach to life. The Ram stands alone, empowered from within, undaunted by any obstacles. The Ram is also endowed with a magnificent set of horns which they use to engage and defend their energies and opinions. Sometimes they do this too well and end up alone because people give them such a wide berth and are wary of their impact. An Aries engaged seems to be essential in the best use of their boundless energy. They need to provide those horns something to lock into and focus on to prevent their energy from scattering.

I've been thinking a lot about Aries lately because there's a missing piece of the puzzle for me. Aries is typified in any astrological write up as very aggressive, quick to anger, headstrong and stubborn. No mistake, I've met some like that and they leave a strong impression which can be quite negative. But there are more Aries I've met that don't come off like that at all. They are direct and impassioned, driven but not aggressive and obsessive.  Many can be quite shy or maybe they are still searching for that true connection and drive in life. But a description of their personalities and characteristics is missing from anything I've ever read on Aries. I'm totally rethinking this sign and I believe what has happened is the extreme Aries personalities have fire-washed the entire, collective understanding of the sign's characteristics. History remembers extremes, so in short, a few jerks have ruined it for the rest of them. But we shouldn't let ourselves be cheated and so misinformed. We should lock horns and engage, to better understand the full offering of this intriguing sign.

Mars is the ruler of Aries, the red planet we see in the sky. With a nod to Mars and to capture the Aries energy, we're pleased to bring you our recipe for Red Curry Sauerkraut. We've blended cabbage with garlic, ginger, leek, hot pepper and lime zest to capture this layered and complex flavour. It's got some heat but not too much. I didn't want to go the common Aries route and ram you with overwhelming spice. When we prototyped this sauerkraut we tried some versions fermented with coconut because it's part of the great flavours of red curry. We didn't add it into the final version of the recipe but when you try this kraut it tastes like it's in there! Maybe because the mind associates it so much with the other flavours, you think it's present.  So just like the phantom coconut flavour so it is with the missing understanding of a complete Aries; I can sense it but I can't explain it...yet.

Happy fermenting!

mason-jar-filled-with-sauerkraut-and-an-aries-mug
Photo by Pyramid Ferments

Aries Sauerkraut

Yield: Makes a 1 Litre jar of sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • Green Cabbage, 1 head
  • Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt, 1-1/2 tsp (not coarsely ground or with added iodine)
  • Garlic, Chopped, 2 Tbs
  • Ginger, Grated, 2 Tbs
  • Leek, Diced, 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped, 1/4 cup
  • LIme Zest, 1 tsp
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Gochugaru or red pepper powder, 2 tbs

Equipment

  • Knife and cutting board
  • 1 liter glass canning jar
  • #13 Drilled rubber stopper w/ airlock or a food stoarage baggy filled with salted water
  • elastic band
  • A piece of fabric large enough to cover the jar (not cheese cloth)

Instructions

  1. With one head of green cabbage, peel off the outer leaves.  Quarter the cabbage, removing the core.
  2. Finely slice the cabbage into long, thin strips approximately 5” long and 1/8” wide.
  3. Add 10 cups of loosely packed, sliced cabbage into a sturdy metal or plastic mixing bowl.
  4. Add the salt, garlic, ginger, leek, cilantro, and lime juice.
  5. Mix, massage and squeeze with your hands until well mixed and the cabbage begins to let out some of its juices, approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure not to under or over mix or pound into mush as it will not ferment properly.
  6. Take a 1 Litre glass canning jar that has been cleaned, well rinsed and sterilized with hot water.
  7. Pack the mixed ingredients into the jar. Push and pack everything down until the brine rises over the top layer of cabbage. Fill up to the jar’s shoulders, do not fill to the very top.
  8. Wipe down the neck and rim of the jar and apply either a #13 drilled rubber stopper with an airlock or a double layered, food storage baggy filled with salted water to create a water weight on the surface of the sauerkraut. Secure it with an elastic band and cover with a dish towel or piece of fabric. Not cheese cloth!
  9. Place jar on a dish in case it overflows.
  10. Every few days, push the sauerkraut back down with the back of a fork until the brine rises back up.
  11. Ferment in 18-21 degrees Celsius for 7-14 days. Feel free to taste the sauerkraut every few days until it reaches your desired sourness.
  12. Once fermented, add a plastic jar lid and refrigerate. For optimum flavour, eat your refrigerated sauerkraut within 4 months.

person-peace-sign-next-to-pickles

Jenna Empey has over fifteen years of experience in organic agriculture and fermentation. Marrying the two, she began an artisanal business that would focus on the natural fermentation of foods and beverages. With a commitment to local food, innovation and experimentation; Pyramid Ferments has created an exciting and distinct product line of fermented foods and beverages, never before seen in Canada. Jenna is also the founder of the Ontario Fermentation Festival. When she’s not fermenting everything in sight you can find her in her tomato garden or under the moth light.

Curtido: Salvadoran Fermented Cabbage

curtido-fermenting 

Cultures around the world have had fermented foods as part of their cuisines for thousands of years, and many of them are variations of fermented cabbage. These similarities in fermentation among different diets unite us and help bridge the cuisine gaps between cultures, but also keep us healthy with plenty of probiotic-rich foods. Just as Germany has its sauerkraut and Korea its kim chi, El Salvador has curtido. It is a lacto-fermented condiment with cabbage as its main ingredient, but is enhanced with other flavors and foods found in Central America, such as cilantro and hot peppers, that really make it stand out. You can use green or red cabbage here, whichever you prefer, and feel free to adjust the heat to your liking as well.

Curtido would traditionally be served on pupusas, which are stuffed masa cakes, resembling thick tortillas, usually filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. We also often serve it with tacos or other Central American-inspired dishes, on scrambled eggs, mixed in with salsa to add a probiotic boost, or tossed into a fresh green salad. Once fermented, curtido will keep well in the fridge for up to a year, lending itself well to big batches or even gifting to friends. Bring this to your next potluck and people will be thanking you!

Yield:3 Quarts

Fermentation TIme: 1-2 Weeks

Ingredients:

  • 1 head green or red cabbage, shredded (large, about 3 lbs)
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, small diced
  • 1 lb carrots, grated
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced (seeds removed to reduce heat if preferred)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems included, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1 1/2 Tbs dried oregano or 3 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 3-6 tsp fine sea salt, varied depending on weight of vegetables

Equipment:

  • 3 glass jars, quart-sized, with plastic/non-reactive lids or  a 1 gallon ceramic crock
  • Fermentation weights
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Zester/grater
  • Funnel Wooden spoon or other tool for packing into jars Kitchen scale
  • Measuring spoons

Instructions

  1. Take a large mixing bowl to zero on a kitchen scale.
  2. Combine the shredded cabbage, onion, carrots, garlic, peppers, cilantro, lime, and oregano in the bowl and stir well.
  3. Add the salt to the vegetables; the amount of salt used depends on the weight of the vegetable mixture. Use 1 tsp sea salt per pound of vegetables (all of the mixture in the bowl, not just the cabbage). The amount of vegetables listed should use about 2 Tbs of salt, but adjust to the exact amount you have.
  4. Mix the salt into the vegetables, massaging and squeezing the mixture to break the cell walls and release their stored water. This also softens the vegetables and reduces their volume, allowing them to be packed more tightly into jars for fermentation. The massaging step may take up to 10 minutes; if your arms get tired or you have limited ability in some way, you can instead let the salted cabbage mixture sit out on the counter for a few hours to soften and release its water. The vegetables are ready for the next step when you can easily squeeze liquid from them and the volume has reduced by about half.
  5. Next, pack the salted, massaged vegetables into glass jars or a fermentation crock. I use quart-sized glass jars for this recipe, but a ceramic crock will also work. Either way, fill your vessel with vegetables to the top, then use a wooden spoon or "kraut pounder" to pack the mixture into the jar. Packing the jars tightly removes air bubbles and raises the brine above the vegetables, which keep the fermentation anaerobic. Keep filling and packing until your vessels are filled; for a glass jar, this is to its "shoulders," where it starts to curve toward the mouth of the jar. Do not fill the jar all the way to the top, or it will overflow as it expands during fermentation and create a mess.
  6. Once filled, press the vegetables down a bit more, until a distinct layer of brine rises to the top. Place a whole cabbage leaf over the top to keep any smaller pieces of vegetables from floating and possibly molding. Then, put a fermentation weight, if using, on top of the carrier leaf. This helps ensure the vegetables stay submerged in the brine throughout the fermentation process, which prevents mold or other unwanted microbes, and promotes anaerobic lacto-fermentation. Cover the vessel with a non-reactive lid (I use plastic lids on my jars). For glass jars, be sure not to screw the lids on tightly, as this can cause jars to break. Label your jars or crock with the name of the ferment and date you made it.
  7. Let your jars sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 5-14 days to ferment. Your curtido is ready when it has fermented to your liking, depending on your taste and texture preferences. It will become more sour and "fermented" tasting the longer you let it sit, so adjust the time as needed for your taste. I typically let mine ferment for 14 days, as I have found this to be the sweet spot for taste and probiotic content. This time frame is with an ambient temperature of about 68 degrees, but it will ferment more quickly the warmer your kitchen, so keep this in mind when fermenting. There is no right number of days to let this ferment; it is simply ready when you are. Give it a taste after a week or so and see if you like it as is or if you would like it to ferment a bit longer. Some let it sit up to 21 days, or as few as five for either more or less fermented flavor.
  8. Once finished, remove the fermentation weight and transfer the jars to the fridge. Under refrigeration, this will keep for about one year.

Recipe Notes:

  • Before shredding the cabbage, set the outer leaf aside, keeping it whole to act as a carrier under the fermentation weight.
  • Feel free to adjust any of the amounts, such as more garlic, fewer hot peppers, etc., as you like. As long as you keep the ratio of vegetables to salt the same, you can get creative and have fermentation success.
  • I recommend wearing food-safe kitchen gloves for the mixing step, due to the presence of hot peppers. If you don’t have any gloves, massage the vegetables and salt together but omit the hot pepper, then add it after massaging to protect your hands.

Kitchen-PortaitLaura is a Registered Dietician and a Traditional Foods Instructor.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Laura moved all over the U.S. before she finally figured out that she is a country girl at heart, and settled down on her homestead in the Driftless region of Southwest Wisconsin with her husband.

Laura is a private practice dietitian, focusing on individualized healing and adding in traditional, whole foods, with emphases on digestion and mental health. She is a blogger, writer, and speaker on health and traditional cooking techniques, such as fermentation and cooking with organ meats. If you can ferment it, Laura will try to do it. She also coaches functional movement classes and loves to spend time with her family and be out in nature as much as possible, especially canoeing and hiking.

When not cooking, eating, or talking about food, Laura also enjoys stand-up comedy, learning German and drinking wine. Not all together.

Banh Mi Pickled Carrots

banh-mi-pickled-carrots-on-a-plate-of-lettuce 

Yield: 1 quart (liter)

This recipe is inspired by Bánh Mì, a vibrant and delicious Vietnamese sandwich loaded with fresh carrots, daikon radish, jalapeño, and cilantro. These vegetables are usually quick pickled in a sweetened vinegar. We instead ferment the typical toppings to naturally create a vinegary tang, add the digestive power of probiotics, and enable you to simplify meal prep.

Use Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots to add texture, moisture, and tons of flavor to any dish. A Grilled Chicken Bánh Mì Sandwich, a Bánh Mì Burger with Sriracha Mayo, or Spring Rolls with Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots are just a few of the possibilities I share below.

Fermentation Length: 7 to 10 days
Salt Percentage: 2.0% (see Recipe Notes)

When purchasing daikon radish, look for ones no more than 2 inches in diameter because the smaller size tends to have a nice flavor and some wonderful sweetness. Really young daikon - less than 1-inch thick – can be tasteless, and older fat daikon radish can be hot and bitter. 

Once you have a jar of Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots at the ready in your fridge, throwing together a flavorful, healthy meal is so much easier. It’s now pay-off time for the work you did weeks ago. A marriage of fermentation and batch processing.

Here are three ideas on how to use your Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots:

  1. Grilled Chicken Bánh Mì Sandwich. Toast a baguette, spread with mayonnaise, add some slices of grilled chicken breast, and top with Banh Mi Pickled Carrots.
  2. Bánh Mì Burger with Sriracha Mayo. Before grilling, mix dried onion flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper into ground hamburger meat. Make Sriracha Mayo by stirring 1–2 tablespoons sriracha into 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. Assemble. Slather your favorite hamburger bun with Srirach Mayo, add grilled hamburger, and top with a generous portion of Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots.
  3. Spring Rolls with Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots. For a vegan take on the traditional Bánh Mì sandwich, roll grilled tofu and Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots, and Sriracha Sauce, in rice paper. Dip in a vinegar sauce made with 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, cup water, 1-2 tablespoons sugar, sliced green onions, and a sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes.

Or, to keep life real simple, just add a few forkfuls of Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots to a bowl of lettuce–including a bit of the brine, sprinkle on a few nuts, add some bits of avocado, then drizzle on some olive oil. Easy! Mouthwatering delicious!

ingredients-to-make-banh-mi-pickled-carrots-in-tiny-white-bowls

Ingredients

  • 2–3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1–3 jalapeño pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 45 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice of
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 pound (450 g) approx. daikon, peeled and julienned
  • 1 pound (450 g) approx. carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fine-grain iodine-free salt

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale, ideally digital
  • 1-quart (1 L) wide-mouth canning jar or similar sized jar
  • 4-ounce (125 ml) canning jar (jelly jar) or other fermentation weight
  • Wide-mouth plastic storage cap, canning jar rim and lid, or airlock lid of your choosing
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Vegetable peeler and measuring spoons
  • Grater box

Instructions

  1. Place your bowl on the scale. Either zero out your scale or write down the tare (weight) of your bowl.
  2. Prep your garlic, jalapeño pepper, green onions, cilantro, and lime (zest and juice) and add them to your bowl.
  3. Grate the daikon and carrots. A nice touch is to julienne or spiralizer the carrots and daikon. Just be sure not to end up with too fine a cut. Add grated daikon and carrots to your bowl until the weight of all your ingredients is 1-3/4 pounds (28 oz or 800g).
  4. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of salt. Mix thoroughly until salt is well dispersed.
  5. Pack into a 1-quart (liter) jar leaving 1-2 inches of headspace. Clean up any loose bits from around the rim and press the mixture down into your jar to remove any air pockets.
  6. Seal the jar using a fermentation weight and airlock lid of your choosing. If you don’t have a specialty weight, find a slightly smaller jar that will fit inside the neck of the jar you packed your ferment into. Fill it with water, cap it, and place it inside the jar. It will keep your ferment below the brine and safe from airborne molds and yeasts.
  7. Label your jar with the recipe name and the day you started fermenting. Place your jar in a small bowl to catch any brine that may overflow. Ferment away from direct sunlight for 7-10 days.
  8. Monitor daily, pressing down any bits that rise to the surface. Start tasting on day 7, stopping fermentation when the desired flavor and acidity is achieved. I keep the fermentation length short for this ferment because I find with the high percentage of sweet carrots, it’s easy for this ferment to switch to an alcohol ferment with notes of yeast.
  9. When fermented to your liking, clean up the jar, removing the fermentation weight and airlock lid. Add how long you fermented your Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots to your label. Seal your jar with a regular lid and transfer to the fridge where your ferment will keep for 6-12 months.

Recipe Notes

  • With hot peppers, the heat is in the seeds and the inner membrane. Vary the heat by how many jalapeños you use, how many seeds you leave in, and whether you remove the inner membrane. Wash your hands well after handling hot peppers.
  • I avoided the use of fish sauce in my ferments for years. It wasn’t until researching ingredients for a batch of traditional kimchi, that I discovered what I had been missing. Fish sauce is rich in flavor-enhancing compounds that add complex notes to any dish. If the smell turns you off, hold your nose while pouring. The fishy odor is greatly diminished during the fermentation process leaving behind remarkable flavors.
  • Red Boat is my preferred brand of fish sauce. When shopping for fish sauce, carefully read the label. The best quality of fish sauce will be made with just anchovies and salt.
  • If you are comfortable with weighing your ingredients and calculating salt by weight, this recipe uses 2% salt. To determine how many grams of salt to add, multiply the weight of your ingredients by 0.02 and add that many grams of salt. For example, an 800 gram batch of ingredients would call for 16 grams of salt. (800 x 0.02 = 16)
  • Himalayan pink salt or Redmond Real Salt© are my favorite salts to use for fermentation.
  • If you want a bit of sweetness in your Bánh Mì Pickled Carrots, place the portion size you are about to use in a bowl and stir in some fine sugar.

Probiotic Valentine’s Day Truffles

truffle-arranged

When we think of Valentine’s Day, our minds immediately wander to chocolate. The decadent confection that is given almost as frequently as socks on Christmas is ubiquitous with the mere mention of Valentine’s day. Why, though? Why did chocolate become the go-to gift for this particular holiday? Well, for one, it’s delicious. The melt-in-your-mouth feel of cool, creamy sweetness is unparallelled. And really, a heart-shaped box of gummy worms just doesn’t have the same romantic appeal of a box of chocolates, ya know?

There’s a ton of historical data on the connection between chocolate and romance out there, but we’re not interested in regaling you with facts and figures. We want to talk about making truffles for your sweetheart(s) on this Valentine’s day. It sounds daunting, but trust us, out of all of the goodies you could make, truffles are the easiest. When you throw some cultured whipped cream in the mix, it shows your loved ones that you’re really looking out for them by incorporating someprobiotics into their gift! If that ain't love, we don’t know what is.

So to make the cultured whipped cream, there are a few rules to abide by. First, cleanliness is a must. Run your jar through the dishwasher or just hand wash with hot and soapy water, but it’s imperative to make sure you’re working with a clean vessel. Second, make sure you’re using Heavy Whipping Cream (HWC for all of you keto folk). Half and half or lighter will not give you the desired result we’re going for. And lastly, timing is key! Leaving your whipping cream fermenting for too long or for too short of a time will create an undesirable result. We’re going for a whipped cream texture, not sour cream. Although you can create sour cream this way too, we’re just not using it in this application.

Cultured Whipping Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 liter wide-mouth mason jar
  • 1 liter of heavy whipping cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized if possible)
  • 1/2 cup of culture (whey, buttermilk, or kefir)

Instructions

  1. Place heavy whipping cream in your jar and add your culture. Mix well and use a GoFerment lid or a cheesecloth and rubber band lid, then store in a warm place away from sunlight. The top of a refrigerator is great where you can block the light with any dry goods you have stored.
  2. After 12 hours, you should see separation happening, where the whey is staying towards the bottom and the cream is thicker at the top. At this point, lid your jar and shake it gently to re-incorporate the whey back into the mix. If it doesn’t mix easily, just stir it up with a clean spoon. This is a good time to taste it (it’ll be more of a creme fraiche at this point).
  3. Leave your cultured cream alone for another 24 hours, then take a look. It will be thicker and have a tanginess to it, perfect for a truffle! Remove the cream from the jar and refrigerate.

Probiotic Dark Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. organic baking chocolate (100% chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar or stevia
  • cup cultured whipping cream
  • Cocoa powder for coating

Instructions

  1. Place a metal bowl that fits over a pot of lightly boiling water on the stove (your water should be above a simmer and below a rolling boil).
  2. Chop your chocolate in any fashion, then add the chocolate and the powdered sugar/stevia in the bowl and melt, stirring constantly.
  3. When fully melted, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream until fully incorporated.
  4. Place your bowl in the fridge for 35-45 min (until the chocolate starts to set).
  5. Once set, use a soup spoon and scoop out around a tablespoon of chocolate.
  6. Working quickly, roll the truffle into a ball shape in between your palms (it helps if you coat your hands with a thin layer of butter or coconut oil as the truffle mix can be a little sticky), then roll in the powdered cocoa. You can also get super fancy and add in any other coatings such as flaky sea salt, crushed pistachios or pecans, crushed candy or any coating of your choice!
  7. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until you’re ready to woo your love with some amazing, hand-made truffles!

Flavor-Popping Butternut Squash Chutney Recipe

chutney-served 

Makes 1 quart (liter)

The sweet flesh of winter squash is elevated to a whole new level when fermented with special ingredients and spices. Enjoy this flavor-popping chutney as an appetizer with some soft cheese and crispy crackers.

Or, better yet, make yourself a British Ploughman’s Lunch, a portable meal packed for a ploughman (or plowman) to take into the fields: crusty bread and cheese plus pickled onions and a relish or chutney.

Fermentation Length: 7 to 14 days
Salt Percentage: 2.5% (see Recipe Notes)

As the days shorten and the nights become frosty, the markets abound with winter squash in all shapes, sizes, and colors. This recipe uses butternut squash, but any firm-fleshed winter squash can be used.

When purchasing butternut squash, look for squashes that are heavy for their size and have a hard, dull rind without cracks or soft spots.

Since the flesh of winter squash softens during storage, it is best to make this recipe earlier in the season than later to capture the squash when it is firm and will hold its texture through the fermentation period.

Butternut squash chutney is a great way to take advantage of fall vegetables. Learning to preserve produce by fermenting seasonally allows you to:

  1. Capture the best of the season in a jar. Produce fermented from each season can be enjoyed throughout the year tossed onto salads, topped onto cheese and crackers, and layered into sandwiches bringing back memories of each season.
  2. Create a stockpile of affordable food gifts. You’ll find the best prices when buying produce in season which can then be used to make flavorful ferments to give as gifts. Repack quart (liter) sized ferments into smaller 4 ounce (125 ml) or 8 ounce (250 ml) jars and add a ribbon and gift tag.
  3. Be prepared for a party, or unexpected guests, at a moment’s notice. A flavorful set of appetizers can be thrown together at a moment’s notice when you have a handful of various seasonal ferments stashed in your fridge.

chutney-ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds (800 g) of butternut squash, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4  cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 2-inch (5 cm) piece of fresh ginger root, finely grated
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons (20 g) iodine-free salt

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale, ideally digital
  • 1-quart (1 L) wide-mouth canning jar or similar sized jar
  • 4-ounce (125 ml) canning jar (jelly jar) or other fermentation weight
  • Wide-mouth plastic storage cap or canning jar rim and lid
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Vegetable peeler, measuring spoons, and grater

chutney-jar

Instructions

  1. Place your bowl on the scale. Either zero out your scale or write down the tare (weight) of your bowl.
  2. Prep your apple, red onion, parsley, ginger, and lemon (zest and juice) and add them to your bowl along with the dried cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Shred the butternut squash with a grater or food processor. Add grated butternut squash to your bowl until the weight of all your ingredients is 1 - 3/4 pounds (28 oz or 800g).
  4. Sprinkle with 4 teaspoons (20 g) of salt. Mix thoroughly until salt is well dispersed.
  5. Pack into a 1-quart (liter) jar leaving 1-2 inches of headspace. Clean up any loose bits from around the rim and press the mixture down into your jar to remove any air pockets.
  6. Seal the jar using a fermentation weight and airlock lid of your choosing. If you don’t have a specialty weight, find a slightly smaller jar that will fit inside the neck of the jar you packed your ferment into. Fill it with water, cap it, and place it inside the jar. It will keep your ferment below the brine and safe from airborne molds and yeasts.
  7. Label your jar with the recipe name and the day you started fermenting. Place your jar in a small bowl to catch any brine that may overflow. Ferment away from direct sunlight for 7-14 days.
  8. Monitor daily, pressing down any bits that rise to the surface. Start tasting on day 7, looking for just a tad of crunch in the squash and a complex tart and tangy flavor.
  9. When fermented to your liking, clean up the jar, removing the fermentation weight and airlock lid. Add how long you fermented your Flavor-Popping Butternut Squash Chutney to your label. Seal your jar with a regular lid and transfer to the fridge where your ferment will keep for 6-12 months.

Recipe Notes

  1. You may substitute other sweet and meaty, firm winter squash for butternut squash.
  2. Winter squash is high in sugar so a shorter fermentation length and a higher percentage of salt (2.5%) is used to prevent the ferment from developing a slight alcoholic flavor.
  3. Himalayan pink salt or Redmond Real Salt© are my favorite salts to use for fermentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pomegranate Relish Recipe Fermented with Honey

Guess what? It’s Pom season in the Northern Hemisphere and boy oh boy, we are EXCITED. Back in the early days of fruit selection (i.e. when we were young tykes and mom would take us grocery shopping), we’d get to pick out our favorite fruits for snacks. Most commonly picked up fruits included grapes, bananas, oranges, you know, the boring stuff. But I was a rebel. I enjoyed the frustrating pomegranate that no one else liked. It was beautiful, extremely tasty, and nobody in my immediate circle wanted to take an hour just to get some sweet, juicy, seedy little gems, which meant that they were all mine!! I still derive pleasure from finding a quiet spot and eating each little ruby-red jewel of intense flavor and texture. Please, if you haven’t eaten a pomegranate in a comfortable, quiet spot, you must. Opening a pomegranate is not as daunting as most people think, really. Once I figured out the right way to open them (see this video ) it was a lot easier to achieve instant gratification.

Although a ripe, beautiful pomegranate on it’s own is a wonderful thing, there’s a lot of versatility to this fruit and it lends itself well to many, many dishes. We wanted to try our hand at fermenting pomegranates and see what we could come up with. It was quite the experience due to the natural sugars present in pomegranate seeds and we loved a lot of the results! One of our favorite recipes involves honey, which makes this recipe so perfect for this season. It’s sweet, tangy, smooth and luxurious, especially paired with brie and figs, or as an oatmeal topper in the crisp, cold mornings. Please try this delicious concoction and tell us what you think!

pomegranates
Photo by Simon Matzinger from Pixabay

Pomegranate Relish Fermented with Honey

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pomegranate seeds (3-4 pomegranates)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or use 1 3-inch cinnamon stick)
  • Zest of 1 small orange (or large lemon)
  • 1-1/4 cup raw honey (it’s gotta be raw!)

Instructions

1. Seed the pomegranate (see video above for the best way to do this).

2. Put all ingredients in a jar, then just cover the fruit with honey and gently stir in (we like to use a chopstick when stirring this ferment). Wait for the air bubbles to escape and then top with the remainder of the honey. Lid with your Go Ferment! Lid then fill the airlock with water (or vodka if you’re concerned about fruit flies).

3. For the next week, keep in a dark, room temperature spot (or cover with a cloth to keep light out). After a week, take a taste and if you’re happy with it, put in the fridge to halt fermentation!

Top whatever you like with this relish. Some of our family favorite dishes, such as pumpkin panna cotta, just get SO much better with it! It’s also really, really good over Thanksgiving turkey. You can save the honey for later and use it when sweetening ice cream, sorbet, popsicles, or anything sweet and cold. If you heat it up for warm dishes or drinks, it will lose some nutritional value but will still taste epic.

We hope this recipe gives you some great ideas and opens up a world of pomegranate goodness to you. Let us know how it went and what you use your pom relish for in the comments!

Fermenting Seasonally: Fall Fennel-Celery Salad Topper Recipe

I like to have a nice green salad for lunch each day, but often don’t because of the time it takes to prep the various toppings. My aim with this recipe was to make preparing salad not only a breeze but to add nutrition and flavor by the fermentation process. This salad topper can be enjoyed on its own or tossed with lettuce, a bit of cheese, and a few chopped nuts.

The two main ingredients in this recipe, fennel and celery, both enjoy cool weather, so you will begin to see fennel at the markets in early fall. That’s when you know it’s time to make a few quarts of this salad topper to ensure effortless salads throughout the winter.

When purchasing fennel, look for small, heavy, white bulbs that are firm and have tightly packed layers that are free of cracks or browning. The stalks should be crisp, with feathery, bright-green fronds.

Learning to preserve produce by fermenting seasonally allows you to:

  1. Create flavor packed recipes. Recipe development is inspired by what I find each week at my farmer’s market. Seeing market stands bursting with fennel, celery, corn, and red onions one Saturday created this perfect combination for winter salads.
  2. Maximize nutrition. Fresh-picked produce has more nutrients than buying that same produce, shipped from across the globe. In addition, during fermentation the digestive action of the bacteria not only increases the levels of existing nutrients, but in many cases generates additional nutrients as by-products of their metabolism.
  3. Ensure fermentation success. When you ferment with fresh-picked produce, you stack the deck in your favor for success. From the moment produce is picked, bacteria begin to break it down. Not only is fresh produce less likely to mold, but the hard-working bacteria are able to generate a higher nutrient profile and a greater depth of flavor.

jar of fermented salad topper

Fermented Fennel-Celery Salad Topper

Makes 1 quart (liter)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480 ml) fresh fennel bulb, quarter and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (480 ml) fresh celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) red onion, quarter and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (240) ml slice off fresh corn, or frozen
  • 1–3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) fennel leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons (15 ml) iodine-free salt

prepared salad topper ingredients 
Chopped salad topper ingredients. Photo courtesy Holly Howe.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the fennel (see Recipe Notes below), celery, onion, corn, jalapeño peppers, and lemon (zest and juice) and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt. Mix thoroughly until salt is well dispersed.
  2. Taste. If the mixture tastes like a salty potato chip, you have the right amount of salt. If it tastes overly salty—like that gulp of sea water you accidently swallowed at the ocean—add a bit more sliced fennel or celery. If there is just a hint of salt, add the last teaspoon of salt.
  3. Pack into a 1-quart (liter) jar leaving 1-2 inches of headspace. Clean up any loose bits from around the rim and press the mixture down into your jar to remove any air pockets.
  4. Seal the jar using a fermentation weight and airlock lid of your choosing. If you don’t have a specialty weight, find a slightly smaller jar that will fit inside the neck of the jar you packed your ferment into. Fill it with water, cap it, and place it inside the jar. It will keep your ferment below the brine and safe from airborne molds and yeasts.
  5. Label your jar with the recipe name and the day you started fermenting. Place your jar in a small bowl to catch any brine that may overflow. Ferment away from direct sunlight for 4-7 days.
  6. Monitor daily, pressing down any bits that rise to the surface. Start tasting on day 4, looking for a bit of crunch with a hint of licorice.
  7. When fermented to your liking, clean up the jar, removing the fermentation weight and airlock lid. Add how long you fermented your Fennel-Celery Salad Topper to your label. Seal your jar with a regular lid and transfer to the fridge where your ferment will keep for 6-12 months.

Recipe Notes 

1. Prepare fennel by first cutting off the stalks. Cut the bulb in half and then cut the halves into quarters. Peel off any wilted or browned outer layers. Slice into thin layers avoiding the core. I use a mandolin for this.

cut fennel bulbs
Prepared fennel. Photo courtesy Holly Howe.

2. Feel free to changes up the texture of this recipe by dicing the ingredients instead of slicing. When fermenting, the basic rule is to keep ingredients close to the same size so they ferment at the same rate.

3. If you’re unable to purchase fresh corn, frozen corn can be substituted.

4. With hot peppers, the heat is in the seeds and the inner membrane. Vary the heat by how many jalapeños you use, how many seeds you leave in, and whether you remove the inner membrane. Wash your hands well after handling hot peppers.

5. Himalayan pink salt or Redmond Real Salt© are my favorite salts to use for fermentation.

6. If you are comfortable with weighing your ingredients and calculating salt by weight, this recipe uses 2% salt. To determine how many grams of salt to add, the weight of your ingredients would multiplied by 0.02. For example, an 800 gram batch of ingredients would call for 16 grams of salt.







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