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Fermented Foods!

meatn3 Jul 23, 2012 07:40 PM

As in lacto-fermentation - the method of pickling and preserving without vinegar and canning!

The idea sometimes seems scary to people since (USA referencing) we grew up with the concept of bacteria = BAD!

This process is pretty low-tech and can create delicious results. Another plus is the health aspects. This type of ferment creates lots of the "good" bacteria (probiotics) and is easily digestible.

Just about every culture around the world has/had a tradition of this style fermenting of vegetables, grains & dairy.

I hope we can create a resource of recipes for ferments, how to use them and also help each other with troubleshooting.

If you aren't familiar with lacto-fermentation here are some resources to get you excited!
Wild Fermentation - Sandor Katz
The Art of Fermentation - Sandor Katz
Nourishing Traditions - Sally Fallon
Making Sauerkraut & pickled vegetables at home - Klaus Kaufmann
Full Moon Feast - Jessica Prentice (includes lacto-fermentation)
Joy of Pickling - Linda Ziedrich (includes lacto-fermentation)

lots of blogs, search for GAPS diet or Weston Price will turn up many

Chow made an excellent, inspiring video as part of the "obsessive" series:

Let the fun begin!

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  1. c
    ChiliDude Jul 23, 2012 07:54 PM

    Thanks for the information. I like to make kimchi. The info may be of some help.

    1. Caitlin McGrath Jul 23, 2012 08:00 PM

      The only thing I've done myself is preserved lemons, but I wanted to mention these jars that rasputina posted about, which are specifically designed for making lacto-fermented foods: http://www.chow.com/digest/120165/pic...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
        cstout Aug 24, 2012 07:51 PM

        Does anybody know if you can just purchase the top portions of the Pickl-It thingies & use your own wide mouth mouth jars, or do you need the ones Pickl-It sells that has the wire latch. My wide mouth jars are the regular Kerr canning jars.

        Do you all feel these kits are worth the money? This is a completely new concept to me.

        Years ago (when I had money), I purchased a Harsch Crock...a real BIG one & put some cabbage in there & waited patiently for magic to happen. After about a week, I looked in there & saw strange murky water & things did not smell too good at all. I had no idea about the difference between fermenting & rotting, so I tossed the whole batch & then lugged that big crock to the barn to gather dust.

        Point is, those Pickl-It kits look much easier, but I am just wondering if I could just use my own Kerr jars instead of purchasing ANOTHER set of jars.

        1. re: cstout
          cstout Aug 24, 2012 08:18 PM

          While I was pondering my question about the PICKL-IT system, I came across this -


          1. re: cstout
            JMF Oct 23, 2012 02:31 PM

            I went to the local homebrew store, bought some fermentation locks and gaskets, and drilled holes in the top of wide mouth liter canning jars. came to about 60 cents per jar.

      2. s
        sedimental Jul 23, 2012 08:02 PM

        I am a *fermenting fool* in my house :)
        I lacto ferment everything. Seriously, I do. I eat a bit of fermented veg every day...sometimes with eggs in the morning.

        Right now I am enjoying fermented turnips with onion. They are fabulous along side beef dishes and when serving more generic Asian foods from curry dosa to noodle stir fry. Just makes you feel a bit "kicky" ;)

        11 Replies
        1. re: sedimental
          sedimental Jul 23, 2012 08:32 PM

          I should add that the fermented turnips have a "gawd-awful" smell. Like someone just farted up the room. If you eat them for breakfast ...you need to continue to assert that you "didn't do it". Pure sulfur smell, but delish!

          1. re: sedimental
            rasputina Sep 4, 2012 08:35 PM

            Can you give me some suggestions for using fermented shredded carrots? I made some last winter and they never really got eaten because I just couldn't figure out how to incorporate them into meals. I mean sure I could add some to coleslaw but after that I was at a loss of ideas and just tossing them on the plate wasn't appealing.

            I'd love to make them again, but I have to figure out how to fit them into our diet.

            1. re: rasputina
              DuchessNukem Sep 4, 2012 09:52 PM

              Here's a few quick ideas:

              -add to tacos w/chicken, beans, or pork
              -incorporate into eggrolls
              -add to Asian-style noodle dishes
              -serve a dollop atop thick beefy stew
              -make a salad with sliced onions, green apples, and fermented carrots
              -add to sandwiches/wraps

              1. re: rasputina
                meatn3 Sep 5, 2012 07:59 AM

                They would be nice added to the meat/rice stuffing for stuffed cabbage!

                1. re: rasputina
                  sedimental Sep 5, 2012 10:21 AM

                  Well, that might depend on why you ferment.

                  I ferment for health reasons as well as for taste and as a nicer storage method for extra garden produce.

                  So, I believe that fermented foods promote gut health therefore immunity is improved, so I eat a little bit of fermented foods in the morning. Just a tablespoon with my eggs, or cottage cheese... or leftover veg/quinoa/meat, etc.little something from last night, etc.

                  I also use them as an *added* side/condiment with dinner. Again, just a tablespoon on each dish- not really a side dish, but as an addition to the side dish. I don't think most people want to eat a large quantity of fermented veg with anything as it usually tastes strong.

                  I wouldn't put your carrots in cooked foods as the beneficial properties are destroyed with heat (if you are concerned with that).

                  You might try adding onions to your carrots for a bit more versatility. Lacto onions are really good! They stay really fresh tasting for months this way.

                  I would think that a tablespoon of your carrots on a plate of anything Asian, Mexican or Moroccan would be nice. I have made lacto ginger carrots and they were really nice on Asian and East Indian inspired dishes of all kinds. Used like pickled ginger or a chutney.
                  Hope this helps :)

                  1. re: sedimental
                    rasputina Sep 5, 2012 10:34 AM

                    Yes, I probably should have posted that I don't want to cook it. I'm fermenting because I want to eat these for gut health. I'll try your onion idea on my next batch. That sounds good. I've been meaning to get some cippolini onions fermenting too.

                  2. re: rasputina
                    seamunky Sep 22, 2012 08:56 AM

                    use them in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich along with pickled daikon

                    1. re: rasputina
                      rasputina Mar 27, 2013 11:02 AM

                      Ok so remember those fermented carrots that just didn't quite inspire me? I made another batch a few months ago. I've never tried to ferment a precut vegetable before, I always buy whole and prep myself, but I had saw this bag of julienne carrots and thought, what the heck. I was hoping I'd find them a more interesting end product than the shredded ones I did before.

                      So now they have been in my fridge for months and I love them. I love that they held their shape and texture. They are just lovely. I've eaten them as a side dish and added them to homemade coleslaw ( I wait and add just before serving).

                      I am going to have to start another batch soon! Love them!

                      1. re: rasputina
                        DuchessNukem Mar 27, 2013 02:39 PM

                        Lol, that's one of the advantages of fermented preservation -- can't find a use for it today? it'll be fine tomorrow. Or next month. :)

                        1. re: rasputina
                          meatn3 Mar 27, 2013 07:09 PM

                          I do find my learning curb starts off slowly in regards to using my ferments. I guess the flavors are still "new" to me. But once you start using them the ideas begin to flow!

                          1. re: rasputina
                            seamunky Apr 1, 2013 01:55 PM

                            Nice follow-up post! Glad to hear you're enjoying your fermented carrots!

                      2. charles_sills Jul 23, 2012 08:39 PM

                        i made saurkraut last fall. it was to die for. and so much easier than i expected. i cant wait to do it again.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: charles_sills
                          cstout Aug 24, 2012 06:15 PM

                          I was wondering if I could purchase a couple bags of coleslaw mix & make sauerkraut - has anyone done this. I don't want to tackle anything too big until I get the hang of it.

                          1. re: cstout
                            deet13 Aug 24, 2012 06:22 PM

                            Yeah you could do that. Just make sure you get the jugs you're going to use good and clean, and make certain you rinse the slaw mix really well.

                            IMO, making sauerkraut really is easier than baking a cake, and is a fairly forgiving process. The only issue with making a batch of kraut is the amount of time it takes, and the smell (oh lord the smell)...

                            1. re: deet13
                              cstout Aug 24, 2012 06:32 PM

                              Well, living on a ranch has definitely indoctrinated me to smells. Chickens, horses, cows, skunks, & a million other things.

                              Probabably would be cheaper just to go ahead & buy a small head of cabbage, buying anything already packaged is going to be more expensive.

                              1. re: cstout
                                deet13 Aug 24, 2012 08:21 PM

                                You're right, since cabbage usually runs .65 to .75 cents per lb. The only thing you're really saving is the time spent shredding the cabbage.

                                If you run it through a food processor as opposed to a mandolin, you can slice up 5lbs of cabbage in no time, with minimal effort on your part.

                                1. re: deet13
                                  cstout Aug 24, 2012 08:32 PM

                                  Yep, being lazy adds to the cost for sure. Thanks for the comparison.

                            2. re: cstout
                              meatn3 Oct 24, 2012 12:06 PM

                              I recently took a workshop from a local fermenter who does this for a living. She said that the bagged slaw mixtures are often treated with bleach to sterilize the vegetable for a longer shelf life. The sterilization kills the naturally occurring good bacteria and so fermentation will not be successful.

                              1. re: meatn3
                                herby Oct 24, 2012 12:30 PM

                                I wonder if she said anything about the whole cabbage - is it possible it is treated too? I made kraut many times long time ago and never had a failure and was surprised that my kraut did not turn out well in a PicklIt jar to boot! I think I'll buy next cabbage from a farmers' market.

                                1. re: herby
                                  DuchessNukem Oct 24, 2012 02:57 PM

                                  I have used regular store cabbage (non-organic! oh the shame lol) without problems. Your recent issue might have been salt concentration, temperature, bacterial contamination, etc. I've had an occasional jar of grey ungoodness.

                                  Does the Pickl-It use whey-and-salt, or just salt? The whey makes for a quicker startup of fermentation.

                                  1. re: DuchessNukem
                                    herby Oct 24, 2012 04:04 PM

                                    Pickl-It recipe uses only salt and this is how I used to do it too. Now, adding whey is interesting and I am willing to try. Would whey from kefir work? How much to add?

                                    1. re: herby
                                      DuchessNukem Oct 24, 2012 04:44 PM

                                      General recipe is 1 cabbage, 1 Tbsp salt, 4 Tbsp whey (kefir whey is fine). Process with pounding/packing/aging as usual.

                                      1. re: DuchessNukem
                                        herby Oct 24, 2012 08:20 PM

                                        Thank you, DN! I will give it a try next week and will report back on what I hope will be a success :)

                              2. re: cstout
                                rasputina Nov 11, 2012 04:38 PM

                                I don't. Personally I don't trust the product to have not been treated in some way. Plus I think that freshly grated is going to give off more moisture than something sitting in a bag for who knows how long.

                            3. weezieduzzit Jul 23, 2012 08:47 PM

                              I have jars of both dairy kefir and water kefir going all the time. I'm looking forward to doing some sauerkraut and kimchi this fall when I have some more time.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: weezieduzzit
                                EWSflash Aug 24, 2012 08:40 PM

                                I tried water kefir, I don'thave the attention span tha tit takes to treat it the way it needs to be treated, it turns out. i did like watching the crystals forming, though, and think it's kind of miraculous. Growing it is just not for me.

                              2. Vetter Jul 23, 2012 08:47 PM

                                I love fermenting foods! I didn't grow up with non-dairy ferments, and I'm still acquiring the taste for tart, but it's such fun to make them. Yesterday I took leftover raspberry seeds and pulp (made a seedless jam) and got that started for vinegar-from-scratch. I've got preserved kumquats waiting for That Special Chicken. I've got a purple cabbage kraut in the fridge. I love making kimchi - it was worth a special trip to the big city for the right kind of Korean chile - and all the different veggies that can constitute kimchi.

                                I would love some recipes for beginner-eaters - approachable to the tongue ferments! What are some milder tasting fruit and veggie ferments? I want to expand my own palate, and get skeptics to try a taste.

                                1. meatn3 Jul 23, 2012 08:58 PM

                                  I've fermented in bits and pieces over the years. I finally have enough room to have something more than a spoon rest on my kitchen counter! So I'm putting on my mad scientist cap and making up for lost time.

                                  I really like using the pint and a half mason jars for playing with ingredients. This evening I chopped just under two pounds of zucchini, baby Vidalia onions and green daikon. I divided it between three of the pint n' a-half jars and then doctored up each one differently. It's an easy way to play with flavors without a huge investment of ingredients or time. Worse case each jar is just a few servings worth going to compost if you aren't happy!

                                  I also have a 1 gallon crock. It is a nice size to experiment with. I made half a crock of sauerkraut with juniper berries in it tonight. Once I get a combination I really like I can make a larger quantity in the Harsch crock.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: meatn3
                                    meatn3 Jul 25, 2012 10:33 AM

                                    My veggies are smelling good, but so far there is no bubbling. They produced a bit of liquid and I had to pour some off. My house is in the '70's, so perhaps that is slowing things down.

                                    1. re: meatn3
                                      meatn3 Aug 24, 2012 04:21 PM

                                      The sauerkraut did not work. I think the house is too warm. I'll try again once the weather becomes cooler.

                                      It was such a small batch that once I scraped away the nasty part there wasn't enough to really keep fermenting. I tasted a bit from the bottom and the flavor was coming along.

                                      (shrug) All in all I don't mind. This is the only failed fermentation experiment this summer. Troubleshooting increases knowledge so it's all good!

                                      1. re: meatn3
                                        cstout Aug 24, 2012 06:20 PM

                                        I am still backing off from trying sauerkraut - if I see anything that looks "nasty", that will be it for me. Need to get over this fear of poisoning myself. If I could only "see" the fermentation process step by step of sauerkraut, then I would know what to look for.

                                        Just get in there & try again, sounds like you know what you are doing. Yes, I am going to wait until cooler weather & the cabbages in the store start looking good.

                                        Thanks for posting your success/failure...we are all here to learn.

                                        1. re: meatn3
                                          MazDee Sep 4, 2012 05:36 PM

                                          In my memory (it's been a long time), there shouldn't be any icky cabbage, only scum. The cabbage must be completely submerged. We made it in a 5g crock, and a weighted dinner plate sat on top, submerged at all times. Most of the scum could be removed before taking off the plate to get the rest. Don't give up! I remember that being the best saurkraut I ever had. We never did can it. We used it out of the crock until we got it down to where we could refrigerate it in smaller containers.

                                          1. re: MazDee
                                            meatn3 Sep 4, 2012 05:55 PM

                                            Thanks for the encouragement. The nasty part was submerged but it looked like bugs had laid eggs. Actually looked like cumin or caraway seeds, neither of which had been used.

                                            Puzzling since this was very well covered with muslin.

                                          2. re: meatn3
                                            rasputina Sep 19, 2012 06:39 PM

                                            What I do to keep the temp stable and cool enough is put my container, airlock and all in an insulated cooler. Right now I'm just doing 1 1/2 liter jars of sauerkraut so they fit perfectly in our 5 gallon water cooler. I just put a small amount of ice and water in the bottom and double check the temp with a thermometer aiming for about 68 degrees, then I put the lid on. Every day I add about a large drink cup of ice to it and put the lid back on. It stays in there for a week-10 days before being transferred to the fridge for another 2 months.

                                            This worked great for me last time so I'm doing it this way again.

                                            1. re: rasputina
                                              meatn3 Sep 19, 2012 06:51 PM

                                              What a terrific idea! I'll have to play around with containers and coolers and see what will work. Sept. through Dec. the temperature can be all over the place in my area. I love the idea of creating a little micro-climate! Thanks.

                                        2. JungMann Jul 24, 2012 06:29 AM

                                          I make various kinds of kimchi, fermented hot sauces and pickled vegetables. I also make a lacto-fermented ginger beer using whey from homemade labneh as a starter.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: JungMann
                                            BananaBirkLarsen Jul 24, 2012 10:36 AM

                                            Do you have a recipe for that ginger beer? That sounds amazing.

                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                              JungMann Jul 24, 2012 11:33 AM

                                              About an inch of grated ginger
                                              Juice from half a lemon and half a lime
                                              1/4 c honey
                                              1/2 tsp sea salt
                                              2 tbsp whey
                                              1 qt. water
                                              1 pinch allspice
                                              1 blade of mace
                                              1 clove
                                              1 - 2 thin slices of scotch bonnet pepper
                                              Combine everything in a sterilized fliptop bottle and leave it on the counter to ferment and carbonate over the course of 5-7 days. The results are lightly effervescent with a good amount of pucker from the whey.

                                              1. re: JungMann
                                                weezieduzzit Jul 24, 2012 11:36 AM

                                                Sounds great- I'll have to give it a try. I've always got whey from the dairy kefir.

                                                1. re: JungMann
                                                  BananaBirkLarsen Jul 24, 2012 02:55 PM

                                                  Sounds great indeed! I always have whey hanging around from when I make cream cheese and this looks like a great way to use it up.

                                                  Edit: When you say an inch of grated ginger, do you mean a piece of ginger that is an inch long or do you mean to grate the ginger into the bottle until it is an inch deep?

                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                                    JungMann Jul 24, 2012 06:33 PM

                                                    An inch long piece of ginger makes a medium spicy brew and a pretty tasty dark and stormy.

                                                    1. re: JungMann
                                                      BananaBirkLarsen Jul 25, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                      Cool. Will definitely try this next time I have some whey lying around.

                                                    2. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                                      EWSflash Aug 24, 2012 08:43 PM

                                                      Oh you guys- please provide links for using whey!

                                                    3. re: JungMann
                                                      The Professor Nov 12, 2012 11:02 AM

                                                      wow...that sounds might good!

                                                2. r
                                                  rasputina Jul 24, 2012 10:24 AM

                                                  My go to is www.pickl-it.com

                                                  I am not a fan of Fallon or Katz having tried their recipes. Since we are planning a move soon I haven't started anything new in ages. I have a lovely red kraut and some fermented carrots that we have been eating for awhile now. I will need to start a new batch of kraut as soon as we move and get unpacked though.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                    meatn3 Jul 24, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                    Do you use the Pickl-It containers or just her recipes?

                                                    Were the Fallon or Katz recipes flawed or just not to your taste?

                                                    It's great adding another resource to the thread - thanks!

                                                    1. re: meatn3
                                                      rasputina Jul 24, 2012 02:54 PM

                                                      I use the pickl-it jars now after not being satisfied with the results from using the usual canning jar or open container method. I considered going to the Harsch crock but I wasn't ready to do a gallon of kraut at a time and the investment was a lot for one jar. I did a bunch of research and decided the pickl-it was the best option that still provided a true anaerobic environment.

                                                      My previous problems were a variety of things, I tried Fallons whey method for pickled veg and I know they really were never in an anaerobic environment and they came out really salty. My kraut, which I followed Katz recipe I was afraid to even try I tossed it.

                                                      My kraut with the pickl-it came out awesome the first time. I can't wait to make a bigger batch as I only used the 1 1/2 liter jar this time.

                                                      My observation after trying both is that Fallon and Katz use too strong of a brine to try and offset the fact that their ferments are not guaranteed an anaerobic environment. I'm basing that on comparing the 2% brine I used that produced my awesome kraut in the pickle-it and the Katz recipe that called for 5x as much salt. He flat out says in Wild Fermentation on the kraut recipe that he doesn't even measure that salt though.

                                                    2. re: rasputina
                                                      herby Jul 24, 2012 05:37 PM

                                                      I've looked at the pickl-it site before and was wondering whether or not to order and now you convinced me - just placed an order for pickling salt and a bundle of three jars. I already make kefir and always struggle as I do not have the right container for making it. I recently received sour-dough starter grains and itch to start - again, no suitable container. Now I am all set with one container to experiment - I see pickles in my near future:)

                                                      1. re: herby
                                                        rasputina Jul 24, 2012 07:19 PM

                                                        oh, post back after they arrive and you get to try them.

                                                        Your doing water kefir right? I have been wanting to try it, but haven't ordered any grains. I was busy with buttermilk and yogurt and like you didn't have the right container for kefir, when I ordered cultures for those. I should get going on that after we move.

                                                        I haven't even looked into sourdough starter in them, I had one going years ago for a long time just in a canning jar and it worked great. But I think that sourdough is more forgiving as long as you feed it.

                                                        I've got a whole list of stuff I still want to try, like fermented garlic, pepper mashes, pearl onions, lactic acid fermented corned beef. I tried beet kvass but I don't think I let ferment long enough as it was still salty. I also think it was weak and needed more beets.

                                                        1. re: rasputina
                                                          herby Jul 24, 2012 09:12 PM

                                                          I will definitely post once i get going! What is "water" kefir? I have kefir grains that were given to me a few months back. I cover them with 2% milk for 24 hours and then either consume or store in the fridge sans the grains. How do you make yours?

                                                          1. re: herby
                                                            rasputina Jul 25, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                            Cultures for health sells the water kefir grains, I haven't made any myself yet


                                                            1. re: rasputina
                                                              herby Jul 25, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                              Thank you for the info! Interesting but I will stick with my milk kefir for now.

                                                            2. re: herby
                                                              weezieduzzit Jul 30, 2012 08:24 PM

                                                              I don't recommend dehydrated grains when you can get fresh live ones. If you were close I'd give you some- mine almost double with each batch and I'm running out of people to give them to, I throw them in the garden when I get too many (supposed to be great for compost bins, too.)

                                                              I got mine from Yemoos on Etsy and they are super active and healthy. I couldn't recommend them more. (I got both water and dairy kefir grains from them- both are excellent quality.)

                                                            3. re: rasputina
                                                              herby Aug 1, 2012 11:54 AM

                                                              My jars arrived yesterday and I want to start something right away! Rasputina, what do you suggest I pickle first considering I have not done pickling in ages and never in these jars? Kraut? Another veg?

                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                rasputina Aug 1, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                hmmm, I don't know. I think it depends on what kind of food you like to eat. Do you want something you can eat soon, or are you willing to wait for something that takes longer to ferment?

                                                                For eating fairly soon I'd say the fermented pico de gallo ( ready in 2 days), maybe beet kvass, that doesn't take too long, or maybe shredded carrots

                                                                If you're dying for some kraut, then start that. If you follow her recipe and age it, it takes about 9 weeks. It's the best kraut I've made though.

                                                                1. re: rasputina
                                                                  herby Aug 1, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                  I never had any fermented veg aside from cabbage and cukes. How does pico de galo taste - si,ilar to fresh or completely different? I have three jars and will use the smallest one for kefir right away. Maybe make kraut in the lagest (1.5 lI think) and carrots or pico de gallo in the middle? What do you think? I will have a look at the site as soon as the kids are fed and onto the art lesson.

                                                                  1. re: herby
                                                                    rasputina Aug 1, 2012 03:03 PM

                                                                    I was lazy this week and only got the stuff to make the fermented pico de gallo today, so I haven't tasted it yet. I am wondering how different it will taste than the fresh pico we usually make.

                                                                    I think your plan sounds good though, I only used the 1 liter jar when I made kraut and I wish I'd made more. LOL it's proven to be popular.

                                                                    I looked the other day for her kraut recipe, to post on another thread and it was a dead link on her site. Not sure if it's fixed yet or not.

                                                            4. re: herby
                                                              rasputina Dec 8, 2013 07:58 AM

                                                              Herby, have you been doing your sourdough starter in the pickl-it? I'm about ready to get back into sourdough. If so, how is it working for you?

                                                          2. cowboyardee Jul 24, 2012 11:43 AM

                                                            Here are a few of my favorite chowhound topics dealing with making your own fermented goods. The pickle thread is especially cool.


                                                            fermented pickles

                                                            Some info about milk, spoilage, and fermentation


                                                            Sourdough starter

                                                            I didn't include topics about beer and wine making, and slightly fermented doughs (such as the ubiquitous no-knead variety), but there are quite a few. Sadly, I didn't see a heck of a lot of info about fermented sausages.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                              steinpilz Sep 28, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                              I like that thread on Moe's salt-fermented pickle recipe!

                                                              @castorpman on Twitter

                                                            2. b
                                                              borntolovefood Jul 24, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                              A must-read is the publication by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x056...

                                                              In additon to the "Obsessives: Pickles" video mentioned by meatn3, you might find the recent Chinese TV series 'A Bite of China" fun to watch. The 7-episode series has been posted on YouTube and with English Subtitles. A significant portion of the program is about fermented food.

                                                              Call me a fool. I loved to eat fermented food. However, there were some varieties I could not find in the stores. So I started making my own and, after years of efforts, now consider myself a serious apprentice in this field.

                                                              I make my own stinky tofu (half a year to prepare the marinate and less than half a day to turn tofu stinky). Please do not turn your nose up upon seeing the words 'Stinky tofu'. It's one of the best-tasting thing one can put in one's mouth. Serious! My 'mei gan cai' (fermented dry vegi; half a month for the initial fermentation and drying; two years for the second stage of fermentation and aging) not only smell FRAGRANT but, when slow-stewed with pork belly, is LOVED by those who have tasted the dish.

                                                              So far I have mainly tried natural fermentation. But finding a wine-making supply store nearby, I will soon be fermenting with controlled cultures since the store is stocked with various microbes.

                                                              Ah, the fun one can have in this life...no upper bound. Amazing, isn't it?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: borntolovefood
                                                                Vetter Aug 24, 2012 08:45 PM

                                                                I love your attitude. Oh, and you're right!

                                                              2. DuchessNukem Jul 24, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                Another source for jars and supplies is Cultures for Health:


                                                                1. drongo Jul 24, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                                  If we're talking fermentation, we should probably also mention cheese... in which case the place to start is Ricki the Cheese Queen http://www.cheesemaking.com/

                                                                  1. meatn3 Jul 28, 2012 10:36 AM

                                                                    GEM Cultures is a terrific company to deal with:


                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: meatn3
                                                                      zzDan Jul 28, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                      I have bought natto starter bacteria from them.
                                                                      Aside from that.........

                                                                      Jarrow sells a pro-biotic powder that has five strains of beneficial bacteria http://www.swansonvitamins.com/JR022/... You add a little bit of this to any ferment or pickle recipe and it gets things going quicker. You can wet a little bit of this powder then mash it up with some brown rice and in 24 hours you will have brown rice permeated with beneficial bacteria like a yogurt. Can be done with oatmeal too. Beneficial to digestion and colon and intestinal health

                                                                    2. meatn3 Jul 28, 2012 10:47 AM

                                                                      I recently made Lacto-fermented Raita from Prentice's Full Moon Feast. The recipe appealed to me since I have a glut of strained yogurt from harvesting whey and quite a few cucumbers.

                                                                      This is a quick ferment, ready in 24 -48 hours. Ingredients are cucumbers,lemon zest/juice, scallions, sea salt and toasted cumin seeds. My batch was delicious at 48 hours. I mixed it with diced tomatoes and strained plain yogurt. Very refreshing summer dish and the cumin was a nice touch. The cucumbers had a good texture.

                                                                      Her recipe calls for mint leaves, but it is unclear when to use them. I didn't put them in the ferment and then forgot to add them to the dish. When I make this again I'll increase the scallions and perhaps add a little garlic.

                                                                      I left the second jar to go a few days longer, just to see...

                                                                      *Interestingly, this combination seemed to make yogurt more digestible for me. Usually eating it produces gas later in the day. This combination, which used a decent serving of yogurt, had very little of that after effect!

                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                        meatn3 Aug 1, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                        I let the second batch of cucumbers continue fermenting for a full week. Flavor has developed more and is mellower. I prefer the longer ferment.

                                                                        This has become my favorite summer lunch! I combine the cucumbers with diced tomatoes, some sunflower seeds and a couple of croutons with a nice dollop of strained yogurt. Great flavor and interesting variety of textures.

                                                                        1. re: meatn3
                                                                          meatn3 Aug 24, 2012 03:58 PM

                                                                          I've fine tuned the raita! I decrease the salt to 3 tea. let it ferment for 10 days and it is delicious.

                                                                          1. re: meatn3
                                                                            Caitlin McGrath Aug 24, 2012 09:05 PM

                                                                            I'm very intrigued by the lacto-fermented raita. Would you share the proportions (your preferred) and process?

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                              meatn3 Aug 24, 2012 10:29 PM


                                                                              3 med. (perhaps 9") regular cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
                                                                              1 large lemon, zest and strained juice
                                                                              4 or so scallions, sliced white and firm greens
                                                                              3 tea. sea salt
                                                                              1 heaping tea. cumin seeds, dry toasted in a pan over medium heat until fragrant

                                                                              Mix well in a bowl. Put into a clean crock, gently weight it, pressing so liquid covers the vegetables Cover with a clean cloth to protect from dust/insects. Keep at room temperature. Refrigerate once you are happy with the texture/flavor.

                                                                              I use pint and a half sized canning jars (quart sized would work too) to ferment in. I use jelly jar sized canning jars with the plastic screw lids filled with water for the weight. I like the plastic lid to avoid the corrosion which can occur on metal lids from the salt.

                                                                              Fill your fermenting jar about half to 2/3 full. I put a small piece of clean muslin* over the vegetables once they are in the jar. Then I tuck the edges down into the mix with the poking tool (for removing air bubbles when canning) before placing the weight on them. I have fewer problems with floaters developing issues since I added this step.

                                                                              I usually have several ferments going, all sitting on a tray. Since seepage can occur I place each jar into a shallow bowl, so I can immediately see which jar may have lost liquid. Once the jar is in the bowl I place the water filled jelly jar into it, gently pressing until an inch or more of liquid is above the muslin.

                                                                              Lastly I take a larger square of muslin and cover the top of it all, rubber banding it in place. The fabric can become wet & salt crusted during the process, so don't be alarmed.

                                                                              I'm finding that 10 days is the point when I like the flavor best. But start trying it after 24 hours and see. My house is 78 in the day, 75 for sleeping this time of year. Different temperatures will speed or slow the process.

                                                                              Note: I now see Prentice called for adding 5 sprigs of mint (approx. 30 leaves), minced to the cucumber mix in the beginning. I hadn't noticed that and have not used the mint.

                                                                              Mix portions with strained yogurt and serve. She suggests adding minced fresh mint at this point too.

                                                                              I mix 2 parts veg to 1 part yogurt. I like it with fresh chopped tomato and something crunchy like sunflower seeds or a couple of croutons. I think a little pepper works well, especially Pirates Bite! http://www.spiceandtea.com/pirates-bi...

                                                                              *I sterilize the muslin covering the veg by boiling it for a bit just before use. All the muslin bits get rinsed and dried once the ferments are done. Then they are put in a lingerie bag and get thrown in the wash with the whites.

                                                                              And for anyone new to this - use good food handling practices and you'll avoid most problems.

                                                                              I think brown or black mustard seed would work nicely in this too. Or grains of paradise.

                                                                              I find this stuff really addictive and refreshing. Please report back with your thoughts when you make it! (it took longer to type this than it does to make it!


                                                                              Edit - office warning: In a close working situation you may want a toothbrush handy after having this for lunch! The cumin seems to develop a lingering presence.

                                                                              1. re: meatn3
                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Aug 25, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                Thank you so much for taking the time to share this detailed explanation. I'm not sure when I'll get it going, but I'd definitely like to try it. And I'll certainly report back when I do.

                                                                                1. re: meatn3
                                                                                  herby Jun 6, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                                                  I just put some cukes up per your instructions. Do not have any green onion but will pick some up tomorrow and add them in. Smells delicious, can't wait to taste :)

                                                                                  Just ordered The Art of fermentation and plan to read like a novel - cover to cover - once it arrives.

                                                                                  Planted some cabbage and will definitely try sauerkraut if it grows.

                                                                                  1. re: herby
                                                                                    ellabee Jun 6, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                                                    My cabbages are heading up nicely; in a few weeks I should be fermenting some! Kraut, and some cortido.

                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                      meatn3 Jun 6, 2013 08:35 PM

                                                                                      I really like it but I prefer it mixed with cottage cheese or used as a condiment. Eating it straight is a little intense for me...

                                                                                      Looking forward to your thoughts and possible refinements!

                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                        herby Jun 6, 2013 09:06 PM

                                                                                        I am thinking of it as a condiment and not straight up :) Maybe with grilled chicken or rice or as part of a salad... will report back.

                                                                            2. re: meatn3
                                                                              meatn3 May 22, 2013 01:15 PM

                                                                              I did a big refrigerator clean out and found a jar of this buried away. I think it was from the fall. Opened it and took a sniff - seemed fine. No sign of mold or discoloration. Ate a spoon full. Veggies were still crisp, flavor still terrific! I'm amazed at the keeping power of this stuff.

                                                                              1. re: meatn3
                                                                                rasputina May 22, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                                                Wow, I'm surprised that it would last that long, I have that cookbook but never tried the recipe.

                                                                                I've made raita a lot of times but never thought about lacto fermenting it.

                                                                                1. re: rasputina
                                                                                  meatn3 May 22, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                  I'm totally stunned myself! It does open up the idea of using the process more to extend the season for seasonal vegetables...

                                                                                  1. re: meatn3
                                                                                    rasputina May 23, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                                    What veggies did you use? I often use chopped cucumber but of course it ends up releasing it's naturally high water content into the yogurt after a day or so, so I'm not sure how well it would work in a fermented version.

                                                                                    I suppose it could be adapted to a fermented tzatziki by shredding and squeezing the excess water out.

                                                                                    One of our favorite raitas in summer is ice raita with crushed ice mixed in the yogurt. Even more cooling than usual but of course you can only make enough for one meal as it doesn't keep.

                                                                                    1. re: rasputina
                                                                                      meatn3 May 23, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                                                      Prentice is using the term riata very loosely...
                                                                                      This is basically a cucumber ferment which is later served with yogurt. Her recipe called for mint leaves which I initially didn't notice...

                                                                                      I used:
                                                                                      3 med. (perhaps 9") regular cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
                                                                                      1 large lemon, zest and strained juice
                                                                                      4 or so scallions, sliced white and firm greens
                                                                                      3 tea. sea salt
                                                                                      1 heaping tea. cumin seeds, dry toasted in a pan over medium heat until fragrant

                                                                                      Lots more details above where I gave instructions per Caitlin's request last year. This summer I'll try it with the mint. That might tone down the cumin a notch.

                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                        rasputina May 23, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                                        Oh lazy me, I have the cookbook I could have just looked it up LOL. Thanks for taking the time to post the recipe.

                                                                                        That is a great idea though to use fermented veg in raita.

                                                                            3. r
                                                                              rasputina Jul 29, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                              Has anyone done lacto fermented pico de gallo? My husband has been eating a ton of it lately, which he makes fresh. I haven't tried fermenting it though. I'm going to the store tomorrow to get the ingredients and making this recipe


                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: rasputina
                                                                                herby Jul 29, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                                Sounds interesting - I never had fermented pico de gallo - please share your results! I am still waiting for my order of pickl-it jars to arrive...

                                                                              2. juster Jul 30, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                Don't forget nukazuke (Japanese - vegetables fermented in rice bran)! Has anyone tried this? I'm thinking of giving it a go. I have a couple of books that talk about it, but wouldn't mind some real-life pointers.

                                                                                1. c
                                                                                  cstout Jul 30, 2012 06:54 PM

                                                                                  I am a scardey cat at this & would like to just start out with maybe one quart of fermented cukes. Does anyone have a recipe for just one quart? Next step will be kraut, but need to wait for cooler weather to get good cabbage.

                                                                                  I had a burger at McDonald's (gasp), was picking through the burger & came across the most delicious pickles, really mild, not like hamburger dills at all. Is that what a fermented pickle tastes like? Never had one so don't know what to compare them to.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: cstout
                                                                                    rasputina Jul 30, 2012 07:23 PM

                                                                                    It's basically cucumbers and brine, and an anaerobic environment. You can use 3 1/2 % brine although traditionally I think it was much higher but those pickles needed to be soaked before being eaten. Which was predone for you in deli's.

                                                                                    I tend to doubt that McDonalds uses lacto fermented pickles.

                                                                                  2. meatn3 Aug 24, 2012 04:13 PM

                                                                                    I made a pepper in mustard oil which was mentioned in The Art of Fermentation (Katz). He had read about a blogger (Siegfried) who was inspired by a hot pepper pickle of Madhur Jaffrey's. It is not a defined recipe. Ingredients are a variety of peppers, sea salt, mustard oil, lime juice, mustard seeds and ginger.

                                                                                    I put it on a sunny ledge each day for 3 days. Since then it has been on the kitchen counter getting a gently shake every so often. Initially it did not seem too promising. By day 10 it was not as sharp/raw and the lime was more noticeable. Today was 5 weeks of fermentation so I tried it again. It is really interesting! It has mellowed but still has a kick. The flavors have mingled into something that is quite nice.

                                                                                    I can see it being used in a pork dish. It would be nice pureed and added to liquid when cooking grains. It would be an interesting addition to a charcuterie plate.

                                                                                    Glad I made this one!

                                                                                    1. EWSflash Aug 24, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                                                      This is a big thread, so I skimmed the last half, and did't see any reference to two of the greatest sites on this subject,

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                        meatn3 Aug 24, 2012 08:58 PM

                                                                                        punkdomestics.com does a good job of it. Thanks for adding it to the resource list!

                                                                                        I've never really seen anything on lacto-fermentation at foodinjars.com - but she has a great array of other preservation methods.

                                                                                        There are many bloggers writing about this style of fermenting. Some can be pretty extreme in their dietary views, so I didn't give links - I didn't want to scare someone new to the idea away!

                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                          ellabee Sep 3, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                                                          Food in Jars is a great site if you're interested in canning, but it's not a good source for info and recipes for lacto-ferments. There is an occasional salt preserving recipe, such as preserved lemons, and a few beverages, but that's it.

                                                                                          There is a lot more on the topic at Punk Domestics, and without a lot of Weston Price promotion.

                                                                                          [Edited to add:]--> Oops. Somehow missed meatn3's reply, which makes mine redundant.

                                                                                          1. re: ellabee
                                                                                            meatn3 Sep 3, 2012 08:22 PM


                                                                                            No problem!

                                                                                            Most blogs do come at it from a Weston Price perspective. While I find some aspects personally useful many of the blogs have a very specific pov.

                                                                                            1. re: meatn3
                                                                                              EWSflash Dec 18, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                                                              Okay, not a big preserver, I was just trying to help, I had thought that food in jars and punk domestics were good resources, and still do.

                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                                meatn3 Dec 18, 2013 08:23 PM

                                                                                                No worries -this thread is about providing resources and sharing experiences - so it's all good!

                                                                                        2. f
                                                                                          FoodPopulist Aug 25, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                                                          I am interested in exploring the world of homemade Asian fermented meats, but I feel like I am at least a year away from being comfortable with actually doing anything in that direction.

                                                                                          1. r
                                                                                            rasputina Sep 19, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                                                            So I've been totally lazy and never made the fermented pico. Oh well. Yesterday I started a new batch of red sauerkraut since we are almost out of my last batch and today I started some lemons in the pickl-it. I've never tried doing lemons in the pickle-it before, my canning jar attempt was complete failure with mold growing.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: rasputina
                                                                                              rasputina Sep 26, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                              Well I'm kicking myself that I didn't think to use some of my kraut liquid to inoculate my new batch. Oh well the new batch is fermenting nicely.

                                                                                              1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                herby Sep 26, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                I started kraut three days ago and nothis is happening yet - could've put too much salt but will see in another couple of days. I want to try making dosa dough in pickl-it and thought I saw a recipe on their site - need to go look.

                                                                                                1. re: herby
                                                                                                  rasputina Sep 26, 2012 10:59 AM

                                                                                                  There is a recipe on their site for dosa and I tried it. I've never made dosa before and it just didn't come out as something I liked. But I've also never eaten them lol.

                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                    herby Sep 26, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                                    I love-love-love dosa and idli too - have to look up the recipe and try. I tried dosa out of the package and it was not good at all... First you fry already boiled potatoes with wonderful South Indian spices, then make dosas and fill them with the spicy potatoes as you would fill crepes and there you have heaven on a plate - masala dosa:)

                                                                                            2. herby Sep 19, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                                                              I got the jars a couple of months ago and have not pickled anything yet. Bought the ingredients today for dilled carrots and a snall head of cabage for sauerkraut. Plan to do these tomorrow and will report back with the results in a week or two. Wish me luck:)

                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                cstout Sep 19, 2012 06:11 PM

                                                                                                Am very anxious to hear how the Pickl-It jars will work out for you all. I am sure several others will want to hear how the process went too. Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: cstout
                                                                                                  rasputina Sep 19, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                                  I've made I think 5 batches of things in the pickl-it. My sauerkraut was a huge hit. The carrots came out fine but I just couldn't quite figure out what to do with them. The Dosa, well I'd never even eaten dosa before so I don't think I'm qualified to judge. My beet kvass, which was the second thing I made in the pickl-it about 6 months ago. I know I didn't let it ferment long enough because it was still salty and I don't think I used enough beets. One thing I can say, nothing went moldy and I had no wierd stuff growing like when I tried fermenting in canning jars. My only success fermenting in canning jars was yogurt and buttermilk.

                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                    cstout Sep 19, 2012 07:16 PM

                                                                                                    Thanks rasputina, you have convinced me I need to pickl-it jars. I will be wanting to start out with sauerkraut. I am hoping those folks have some recipes for kraut. Will go over to that site & check it out now.

                                                                                                    Here is a very dumb question...I have several recipes that are made the traditional canning method, like chow chow, different relishes, etc. Can I use the recipe as is, but instead of boiling the jars to sterilize, just put the ingredients in a pickl-it container?

                                                                                                    1. re: cstout
                                                                                                      herby Sep 19, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                                                                      Cstout, Pickl-It jar are not for canning - they are designed for lacto-fermentation only. Once the food is fermented, you store it in the fridge - it will last a long time. Canning or cooking will destroy the beneficial bacteria. There are lots of recipes on Pickl-It website and here is a good recipe for the kraut that I will be using tomorrow - http://www.punkdomestics.com/search/n...

                                                                                                      1. re: herby
                                                                                                        cstout Sep 21, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                                                                        Thanks so much for the link & the lesson about fermentation versus canning. I feel so stupid, but now I know & understand.

                                                                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                                                                          meatn3 Sep 21, 2012 05:37 PM

                                                                                                          Not stupid at all! It's a whole new language and area which most of us did not grow up with! The US has been so focused on industrial food processing that much of the exposure people had to fermented foods in times past simply no longer exist.

                                                                                                          I was pretty freaked out about the concept when I first started hearing about it. It took many years of reading and having discussions with people who were fermenting before I understood the principals enough to feel comfortable delving into the area.

                                                                                                          I'm really glad this thread has generated so many helpful posters. This is definitely an area where it is really nice having others to help troubleshoot and provide guidance.

                                                                                                          1. re: cstout
                                                                                                            herby Sep 22, 2012 07:01 AM

                                                                                                            Please do not feel that way! There are no stupid questions - this is how we all learn and grow. Glad to be able to help:)

                                                                                                        2. re: cstout
                                                                                                          rasputina Sep 19, 2012 08:26 PM

                                                                                                          Most canned pickling recipes are vinegar based and as such are not lactic acid fermented. Vinegar is acetic acid and requires an aerobic environment to grow, whereas lactic acid fermentation is an anaerobic process. You'd have to convert any vinegar in the recipe to a salt brine and then provide the correct ambient temp for lactic acid fermentation to happen. Since vinegar pickling was used to replace the traditional lactic acid fermented product but allow for mass production, easy transportation and shelf stable storage most of the modern recipes were adapted from lactic acid fermented ones. If you dig around you can probably find the old original process for your favorites and then adjust the ingredients to your liking.

                                                                                                          The recipe I use for kraut was on her sauerkraut 101 page but it's a dead link for some reason now.

                                                                                                          It's basically the normal way you make kraut, shred the cabbage ( I do 1.3 mm slices because it's the best choice on the mandoline I have), then pound the cabbage with salt to release it's juices ( 3 T salt per 5 pounds of sliced cabbage), tightly load the jar no higher than the shoulders to allow for expansion. If brine doesn't cover the cabbage ( it was low on juice) you can top it off with a 2 1/2 % brine solution. Lay a couple slices of carrot or a cabbage leaf over the top to reduce floaters then put the dunker ( glass flat weight) and press so all the cabbage is under the brine. Then install the air lock and make sure you put water in the air lock for it to do it's job. Then put in a dark place out of direct sunlight and preferably between 68-72 degrees for 7-10 days. Then put in the fridge to cure or age for about 8 weeks.

                                                                                                          Make sure you use non chlorinated water and unrefined salt without caking agents. She has salt weight info on her website as volume measurements are not consistent since different salts are different levels of coarseness. I use fine grind himalayan pink salt.

                                                                                                          1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                            rasputina Dec 8, 2013 08:10 AM

                                                                                                            Just to update I've since quit pounding the shredded cabbage and instead make a 2% salt brine to cover the cabbage. I'm buying my cabbage and they just don't seem to give off much liquid to create a brine. I've done this on my last two batches and it's worked great. Plus, I like having the extra brine to drink since it's good for the digestion.

                                                                                                        3. re: rasputina
                                                                                                          herby Sep 19, 2012 07:52 PM

                                                                                                          Dosa is the thing I wanted to make - thanks for the reminder! I am very particular about my dosa - and idli for this matter - will report back when I make it. Did the recipe you used came from Pickl-It site?

                                                                                                    2. m
                                                                                                      Main Line Tracey Sep 19, 2012 06:59 PM

                                                                                                      Does adding honey or ginger to fermented foods kill off some of the good bacteria?

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Main Line Tracey
                                                                                                        meatn3 Sep 21, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                                                                        I've been thinking about this since you posted but have not had a chance to really investigate.
                                                                                                        Off the top of my head I'll address this two ways.

                                                                                                        Adding the items at the start of the fermentation process: Honey could provide too much readily available sugar and accelerate the process, perhaps getting it out of whack. I think someone experienced in homebrewing, especially with mead could better discus this. Ginger would not be a problem and is a nice addition to vegetable ferments.

                                                                                                        Adding the items after fermentation is completed: If you are adding them to a fermented dish before you eat it there should be no issue. Yogurt is a lacto-fermented food and honey is often used to sweeten it. Ginger mixed into prior to eating is not a problem.

                                                                                                        The only issues I can imagine is if you added enough of an ingredient to a fermented food resulting in a change in the ph. At that point some of the good bacterial could die.

                                                                                                        Heat is generally the way we loose good bacteria. Heating up kraut - it will still be tasty, but the good bacteria will be killed. Miso is another example. If you are making miso soup it is best from a good bacteria point to stir in the miso to slightly cooled soup just prior to eating rather than adding it earlier and allowing it to boil.

                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                          weezieduzzit Sep 26, 2012 08:14 AM

                                                                                                          Honey is naturally antibacterial/antifungal/anti lots of things. I know that it is specifically off limits with my kefir grains because it will kill them off. Ginger on the other hand can even be added to the first ferment.

                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                            meatn3 Sep 26, 2012 08:41 AM

                                                                                                            This is interesting re: honey:


                                                                                                        2. re: Main Line Tracey
                                                                                                          rasputina Nov 30, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                                                                          It must not since Kathleen at Pickl-it has recipes for fermented honey and fermented ginger.

                                                                                                        3. c
                                                                                                          cstout Sep 22, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                                                          Thanks for a great post, I have learned so much about fermentation from you folks. Well, I have to go a step further & say I have learned so much from you all about all kinds of things. It doesn't get any better than this.

                                                                                                          1. m
                                                                                                            MazDee Oct 4, 2012 07:37 PM

                                                                                                            I'm glad you introduced this topic. Right now I'm considering putting my recipe for brined pickles in a community cookbook I'm editing. People will be surprised that there is no vinegar in these pickles, and may be concerned about safety. I have been making them on the kitchen counter for 20 years or so with no problems, but is there anything I should warn about?

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MazDee
                                                                                                              cstout Oct 7, 2012 10:15 AM

                                                                                                              MazDee, would you mind sharing your recipe for brined pickles? Also, let us know if we can mail order your community cookbook - I love to collect those kinds of cookbooks.

                                                                                                              1. re: cstout
                                                                                                                MazDee Oct 22, 2012 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                (The recipe is written for people living in Mazatlán, México)

                                                                                                                3 lbs Kerby type cukes (pepino criollo in the supermarket)
                                                                                                                7 or 8 cloves garlic
                                                                                                                1 tsp coriander seed
                                                                                                                1 tsp mustard seed
                                                                                                                1 tsp peppercorns
                                                                                                                3 bay leaves
                                                                                                                12-14 sprigs dill if available (Mega sometimes has it)
                                                                                                                3 qts water
                                                                                                                ¾ c kosher salt or ½ c uniodized table salt.

                                                                                                                • Wash crock or large, wide mouthed glass or plastic jar.
                                                                                                                • Wash cukes and cut a very thin piece from the blossom end of each.
                                                                                                                • Stand on end in jar to hold each other up. Make 2 layers if the container is tall enough. Fit tightly.
                                                                                                                • Add garlic, herbs, spices.
                                                                                                                • Mix water and salt until dissolved. Pour in crock to cover cukes, let it overflow to get out air bubbles.
                                                                                                                • Cover with weighted dish that is slightly smaller than the opening so that cukes (and dish) are completely submerged. Cukes must be submerged at all times!
                                                                                                                • Check daily for about 10 days. Remove scum off top. Add more brine if necessary to keep them covered,
                                                                                                                • Cut a cuke in half to see if it is uniform in color all the way through. If not, return it to crock and continue to check every day or 2. Refrigerate and enjoy!

                                                                                                                1. re: MazDee
                                                                                                                  MazDee Oct 23, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                  Forgot to add: I don't know about shipping to the US. Some of my friends up there have asked mthe same question. I will take a book to the PO when it is printed and see how much shipping would cost.

                                                                                                            2. e
                                                                                                              ellabee Oct 23, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                                                              I'm so stoked! I got a few Pickl-Its last week and am already enjoying the dilled green beans. The carrot sticks with ginger are coming along, will go in the fridge in a couple of days. They make a great snack, or companion to good cheese and bread for lunch. I was looking for an easy way to work more vegetables into my day, and this is just the thing.

                                                                                                              I'm hoping to score a big quantity of garlic soon -- but that's a real exercise in delayed gratification (best after 6 months, they say). Has anyone here done the pickled garlic cloves?

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ellabee
                                                                                                                herby Oct 23, 2012 04:03 PM

                                                                                                                I have not done pickled garlic but did confit not too long ago and it is a gem. Keeps forever in the fridge.

                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee
                                                                                                                  rasputina Nov 11, 2012 04:27 PM

                                                                                                                  I've been wanting to, but I have been too lazy to peel all that garlic for the jar LOL.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee
                                                                                                                    rasputina Nov 11, 2012 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                    I'll have to try the sticks, I found I didn't like the texture of the grated carrot version.

                                                                                                                  2. herby Oct 23, 2012 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                    I did the kraut following PicklIt recipe in their jar and had to throw the whole mess out - it was kind of grey looking and not tasty at all. Not sure what went wrong as it is the easiest pickle to make. I'll try again soon.

                                                                                                                    I really want to make dosa using PicklIt jar. Anyone has done it? Please share your experience if you did.

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                                                      wavywok Oct 28, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                      I am wanting to try a batch of sourKraut, for my container my local options are a 2 gallon (Made in America!!) clear glass jar ( http://www.walmart.com/ip/Anchor-Hock...) or a enamaled steel pot. The glass would seem to be more fun as I could watch the process w/o disturbing it, but I have read a dark place would be needed. Is this true and if so why?

                                                                                                                      1. re: wavywok
                                                                                                                        rasputina Nov 11, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                        sunlight can kill the lactic acid bateria.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                          wavywok Nov 12, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                          I just bought it this weekend..
                                                                                                                          Oh well only $10.

                                                                                                                          1. re: wavywok
                                                                                                                            meatn3 Nov 12, 2012 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                            I know people who use similar containers with success. Keep it away from the window or drape a tea cloth over it or tuck it in the pantry.

                                                                                                                            I would be more concerned about the light being an issue if you were using it for long term non-refrigerated storage of the ferment.

                                                                                                                            1. re: wavywok
                                                                                                                              rasputina Nov 12, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                              I wasn't saying you can't buy it or use it, I was just answering your question as to why darkness is ideal.

                                                                                                                              1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                wavywok Nov 12, 2012 09:17 PM

                                                                                                                                I will locate it away from direct sunlight at least (easy in my place LOL)
                                                                                                                                I want to try kraut, maybe next week.

                                                                                                                        2. re: herby
                                                                                                                          rasputina Nov 11, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                          Did you use water with no fluoride or chlorine ( if you added water)? Did you maintain a temp between 68-72 during the 7-10 day counter top fermentation? Organic, home grated cabbage? Are you sure the salt to cabbage ratio was correct ( by weight)

                                                                                                                          I'm on my second batch and both came out great.

                                                                                                                        3. steinpilz Nov 11, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                          In a NYTimes article today about St. Barts Jean Georges Vongerichten mentioned fermenting chilis, mix with salt and refridgerate overnight, so I thought I'd mention this here. There are a bunch of recipes on the web.


                                                                                                                          @castorpman on Twitter

                                                                                                                          1. steinpilz Nov 17, 2012 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                            Here's an article from yesterday's Telegraph giving suggestions for fermenting autumn vegetables for snacking and cooking.


                                                                                                                            @castorpman on Twitter

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: steinpilz
                                                                                                                              cstout Nov 18, 2012 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                              steinpilz, thanks for sharing the autumn veggie fermentation article. Great info!

                                                                                                                              1. re: steinpilz
                                                                                                                                wavywok Nov 18, 2012 09:20 PM

                                                                                                                                The article says that Iodized salt will kill the bacteria, I thought it was because of a cloudiness/color issue that Iodized salt was avoided.

                                                                                                                                1. re: wavywok
                                                                                                                                  JMF Nov 19, 2012 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                  Yes that is what I always heard.

                                                                                                                              2. steinpilz Nov 21, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                Here's another article about fermenting food: Japanese style fish "fermented" in miso.


                                                                                                                                @castorpman on Twitter

                                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                                  rasputina Nov 30, 2012 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                  I can't tell if my lemons are safe or not? I got distracted and instead of putting them in the fridge after a month per the recipe I was using instead they were left out for 3 months. I used too small of a jar and I had to remove some lemons about 2 months ago because they were above the brine and grew mold. The rest seemed fine to I left them. Now they smell fine and they are clearly fermented in texture but the liquid is viscous and not watery like my usual ferments.

                                                                                                                                  I'm afraid to try it, but I put it in the fridge anyway.

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                    meatn3 Nov 30, 2012 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                    What was in your recipe?

                                                                                                                                    I make lemons with just salt, lemon juice and spices. Over time the liquid does become viscous.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                      rasputina Nov 30, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                      Lemons, salt and lemon juice.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                        rasputina Nov 30, 2012 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                        The liquid is similar in consistency to a syrup. Not super thick, but not watery thin like my usual ferments. Of course my usual ferments are cabbage, carrots or beets. I did a bunch of googling and someone posted the same on their blog and attributed it to the pectin in lemons. I don't know.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                          meatn3 Nov 30, 2012 11:13 AM

                                                                                                                                          Sounds like how mine get over time - a bit opaque, slightly milky in color. I think having them on the counter for a longer period just sped up the process of reaching this point in "age".

                                                                                                                                          My process is counter top with daily turning for a month then refrigerating. Towards the end of a year in the fridge they have developed this consistency of liquid.

                                                                                                                                          I used kumquats and key limes in the same manner and they developed similar liquid over time. Pectin sounds like a likely reason!

                                                                                                                                          I've had no problems with using them at this point. I think the flavor keeps developing and gains more depth.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                            rasputina Nov 30, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                            ok thanks, I feel a little safer in trying them now.

                                                                                                                                            I have a potato and lemon tagine recipe I was looking at today, maybe I'll make that over the weekend?

                                                                                                                                            The kumquats and key limes sound wonderful! Too bad I moved, my old neighbor had a kumquat tree. I'll have to try the key limes my daughter loves those.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                              meatn3 Nov 30, 2012 10:28 PM

                                                                                                                                              Potato and preserved lemons are so nice together! I often add fennel to that combination and serve with fish. The leftovers make a tasty light chowder the next day.

                                                                                                                                              I liked the pickled limes but they seemed to loose the "key" flavor. Not sure they are worth doing unless you have more key limes that you can use. Flavorwise I think Persian limes would taste pretty much the same.

                                                                                                                                              Enjoy the tagine!

                                                                                                                                    2. t
                                                                                                                                      travelerjjm Dec 7, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                      I did it! Sauerkraut. Great results, see here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/881017

                                                                                                                                      Now, is there a way to store it without the refrigerator? How cold does it have to be to stop fermenting and how long can I keep it outside the 'fridge?

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: travelerjjm
                                                                                                                                        rasputina Dec 7, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                        Personally, I'd keep it around 50ish degrees for long term storage. But that is just an off the top of my head answer.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                          rasputina Dec 7, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                                          ok I should have said, at maximum 50ish for long term storage

                                                                                                                                        2. re: travelerjjm
                                                                                                                                          DuchessNukem Dec 7, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                          Nice work! Fridge slows fermenting but still continues slowly (and the reason why fresh kimchi can be hard to market: still keeps bubbling away and violates seal on jars). I pop mine into fridge after initial ferment.

                                                                                                                                        3. steinpilz Dec 12, 2012 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                          Here's an article I just saw about koji, Asperilligus oryzae, the fungus used for fermenting miso, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and rive vinegar, in Japan.


                                                                                                                                          @castorpman on Twitter

                                                                                                                                          1. steinpilz Jun 7, 2013 02:33 AM

                                                                                                                                            I happened to find this recipe for pickled spring peas and thought I'd put it on this thread:




                                                                                                                                            1. herby Jun 11, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                              Amy, I am driving through Albany tomorrow - sent you an email this morning, please email your phone number.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                herby Jun 12, 2013 05:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                Well, either lost interest or unavailable - too bad... On my way now and out of touch.

                                                                                                                                              2. JMF Jun 12, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                I have many years of fermenting beer, wine, etc. professionally, and I have done lots of quick vinegar based pickling. Over the past year or two I have gotten serious about my fermentation pickling.

                                                                                                                                                I stick mainly to sauerkraut, but have done around a dozen different veggies and several fruits. Cukes, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, parsnips, green tomatoes, apples, peaches, pears, etc. I have kimchi and saurkraut fermenting right now. I do it in my laundry room in the basement where the temp. stays 62-70 F year round except in the peak of summer. During the hottest time of year I move my pickling buckets into my office in the basement after the first few smelly days of fermentation, because I have AC there. For best pickling I have found that the 62-70 F gets the best and most flavorful results. Just like in beer and wine making.

                                                                                                                                                When I ferment in a brine I use 2% by weight of salt to water. When I ferment without a brine I use 5% salt by weight to the vegetables. I like to let the ferment get started naturally for a few days, then I buy a some good yogurt and drain the whey off and add the whey to the bucket to boost the ferment and get good, healthy probiotics developing. Some people do this right from the start, but I read some university research that by letting the natural probiotics start the ferment you get better flavor, then the yogurt probiotics develop it further.

                                                                                                                                                I use those 5 gallon food grade plastic fermenting buckets for making beer that I got at the local home brew supplier. The lid is pre-drilled for a fermentation lock and with one in, the gas can get out and air doesn't get in.

                                                                                                                                                I do put a plate the same size as the buckets diameter to make sure the solids are beneath the liquids surface so they don't dry out.

                                                                                                                                                When I first start the ferment, and then later when I occasionally check on the ferment, as I am closing up the container I charge my Isi seltzer bottle with a CO2 cartridge, no water, and stick the nozzle under the edge of the lid and slowly squirt in the whole cartridge of CO2 to remove the oxygen, and then close the lid. Doing so I have never had ANY mold or spoilage or oxidation. And I can let the ferments go a very long time.

                                                                                                                                                I have had amazing sauerkraut that went through a 3 1/2 month ferment before I cold packed it into 1 liter canning jars and put into my storage fridge in the basement. I have some incredible sauerkraut that went through a 3 month ferment, and has now been in the fridge in jars for 6 months. It looks like it can keep improving for another few months. It's super crisp, tart and tangy, and the flavor is remarkable from some caraway and cracked juniper berries I added to the cabbage at the start.

                                                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                                                  rasputina Nov 22, 2013 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Anyone got anything going? I started a new batch of kraut today and I want to get some carrots going soon.

                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                                    weezieduzzit Nov 22, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I noticed cabbage at 5 pounds for a dollar this week, I'm thinking about starting a batch of kraut, too. I always have water kefir and dairy kefir going on the counter and have recently started the fermented chilis talked about here on CH. I'll never do without a jar of those now, they're wonderful and I use them all the time.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                                                                      meatn3 Nov 22, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                      The chilis in mustard oil?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                                        weezieduzzit Nov 22, 2013 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                        The ones that are salted and left to ferment (though I added a tablespoon or so of whey from the milk kefir to get the ball rolling faster.)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                                                                          meatn3 Nov 22, 2013 05:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks. I'll have to try that one next summer!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                                            weezieduzzit Nov 22, 2013 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I don't think I can eat eggs without them any more. :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                                                                              meatn3 Nov 22, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                              If you like a bit of a kick try the mustard oil one! Different but very addicting.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                                                                weezieduzzit Nov 22, 2013 05:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I will do a search for it and see if I can find it. My pepper plants are still going gangbusters.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                                                                                  meatn3 Nov 22, 2013 05:38 PM


                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                                      wavywok Nov 23, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I bought a big Geleuz de Eysins pumpkin a few weeks ago. Its almost as ugly as me:see somebody's photo, I have a picture on my phone but windows is not being friendly w/ it and another on an external drive formatted w/ a Linux filesystem, which is also not liked by windows....
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/matherst... the pumpkin not me!
                                                                                                                                                      We are making pumpkin pie, mashy and a quart fermented.
                                                                                                                                                      I am not at all sure what spices to add, I am not going for a pumpkin pie spice thing. Maybe garlic, ginger and a couple of little of those little chili peppers that are sold as ornamental.
                                                                                                                                                      Mmm maybe coriander....

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wavywok
                                                                                                                                                        DuchessNukem Nov 26, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Looks fab. Love the ginger and coriander especially.

                                                                                                                                                        Here's a link with three squash ferment recipes (first one is pie spice, but check out the other two):

                                                                                                                                                        (CFH is a good vendor, BTW.


                                                                                                                                                        I read somewhere that knobby pumpkins were de-selected for during the first part of last century, since folks preferred smoother varieties. Love that the gnarly ones have come back into fashion.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                                          wavywok Nov 26, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I will check it out. I ended up w/o ginger, just forgot

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                                        cstout Dec 8, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I really want to make some kraut in a jar - has anyone tried this? I don't want a huge batch, just a couple of jars.

                                                                                                                                                        Will I need those special tops on my jars or can I just wing it with the regular canning lids? I am so afraid of poisoning myself since I really don't know what to look for.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cstout
                                                                                                                                                          steinpilz Dec 8, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I've made simple Japanese style pickles - radish, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, pickled just with salt. And I've also made pickled onions and mushrooms using vinegar. I have not yet made fermented sour pickles, but I like the looks of Mo's recipe above.

                                                                                                                                                          For the kinds that I have made, they probably would stay good longer than you could keep from eating them - over a year for sure.

                                                                                                                                                          I use no special jars or tops (if available the jars I prefer to use are old commercial kimchi ones, glass with a plastic screw top.)

                                                                                                                                                          Here are some Japanese pickle recipes:



                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steinpilz
                                                                                                                                                            cstout Dec 9, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                            The Japanese pickle recipes look so inviting - not to mention being healthy for you.

                                                                                                                                                            One day soon I hope to make a trip to the big city of San Antonio to a Japanese market & see if they have some of the vegetables listed in those recipes.

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for posting the links.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cstout
                                                                                                                                                            rasputina Dec 8, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I never had success with just canning jars with lids. Since I started using proper fermentation vessels my fermented foods have been consistently good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                                              cstout Dec 9, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Well, rasputina & travelerjim, you have convinced me I need to purchase the airlock lids. Where is the best place to do this?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cstout
                                                                                                                                                                travelerjjm Dec 16, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Sorry to respond late, I was out of town on business.
                                                                                                                                                                The quickest and maybe least expensive place will probably be a local homebrew supply store. They're $6 for 3 at Amazon for the least expensive.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cstout
                                                                                                                                                              travelerjjm Dec 8, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Yes. It worked well. I used a regular caning lid with an airlock. Airlocks are so inexpensive and it means you 1) don't have to deal with it every day, and 2) can tell when it's done. I also put one of those glass weight discs on top of the cabbage (it was therefore submerged in liquid) to keep it from floating.

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