My First Ferment

You may call me a nerd or a weirdo or a crazy hippie, but recently I've become a little obsessed with fermentation.  Yup, that's right, jamming a bunch of veggies in a jar and letting it sit and bubble until it's turned into something delicious.

Last week I started my very first jar of Sauerkraut.  Now I've never been a fan of sauerkraut you buy from a store.  I don't know why, I just never liked it.  But sauerkraut is one of the easiest things to ferment so I figured it was a good place to start. The whole process to prepare and jar my cabbage took about 20 minutes total!  Once finished, it was time to watch and wait.

Yes, that whole cabbage fit into one mason jar!

On the weekend, just 6 days after I placed my concoction in the cupboard it was ready to eat.  And I was amazed!  It was still crunchy and cabbagey with a nice balance of salty and sour.  After having some with dinner I was happy to report that all our bellies were full and I managed not to poison my family with a failed batch of fermented cabbage.  I used the super simple and east Sauerkraut recipe from Alex Lewin's book Real Food Fermentation. I highly recommend this book as it's straightforward and easy to follow and it has lots of lovely pictures and tons of tips & tricks!

So why fermenting?  

Lots of bubbly goodness!
Well for one, it's healthy.  As the Fermenters Club puts it: "Fermented foods are the original probiotics (perhaps even rising to this year’s nutritionism buzzword). The living bacteria involved in the fermentation process create enzymes and add vitamins to the food. They promote a healthy digestive system by supplementing and assisting the good bacteria in our gut flora– the trillions of symbiotic bacteria that live in our digestive system."

And on top of the health benefits, it's unbelievably easy, frugal, eco-friendly and also, it's kind of fun.  You don't need any special equipment, just some regular household items.  Fermenting is a fantastic way to preserve vegetables during the year. For maximum money saving, buy seasonal produce from your local farmer at the end of the season when the prices are the lowest.  You don't need any electricity or special gadgets to make your concoctions.  Just a few basic ingredients like your veggies and some sea salt, mason jars work well, and of course your imagination!

Sauerkraut is now happily in the fridge. Notice the difference in colour from start to finish?

There's so many fantastic fermentation recipes out there.  Not sure what I'll tackle next, but I know Kimchi is catching my eye right now.  Check out my Fermentation board on Pinterest for more ideas!

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