Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fermenting Success!

Fermented foods are so good for us, but I have a requirement that any food we consume (yes, even that which contributes to our health and well-being) has to taste good.  Yeah, a strange concept, I know, but my tummy simply rebels if I try to eat anything that is "good" for me, but tastes like something a starving person on a desert island would have to eat to sustain life.

In the past (especially when we have fresh-out-of-the-garden produce), we've been experimenting with different recommended recipes for fermented foods.  Last year, Papa Pea came up with a dandy fermented pickle that was really good, and we have three half-gallon jars of pickling cukes fermenting on the counter as we speak.  

But I admit, most of our attempts at fermenting food have been about as tasty as swallowing a big spoonful of cod liver oil.

This year, because of all the hot weather, we have a glut of slicing cucumbers so several days ago I experimented with using them as the main ingredient in a jar of fermented veggies.

After sitting on the counter at room temp for three days,  it was ready for taste testing this morning.


And, wahoo, I did it!  This attempt is actually very tasty.  Although all we need to ingest regularly to gain the benefits of a fermented food is about 1/4 cup a day, both hubby and I said we could eat this latest concoction as we would a coleslaw or cold salad on our plates.

So if you care to give it a go, here's my recipe . . . as of yet without a good name.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.

1-1/2 slicing cucumbers (each about 7-8" long), chopped in small  
    pieces
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium yellow onion, chopped in small pieces
1 sweet red pepper, chopped in small pieces
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup whey
Water as needed

Combine all ingredients except sea salt and whey.  (I used the whey drained from making cottage cheese.)  Place veggie mixture in a quart jar and press down.  If you need more veggies to fill the jar to about an inch from the top, add more cucumbers.  (Since my cucumbers were fresh from the garden, I left the skins on them which added more color to the mix besides being nutritious.)

In a small bowl, mix together the sea salt and whey.  Add to the jar.  Then add enough (non-chlorinated) water to cover the mixture, leaving one inch free below the rim of the jar.

Cover tightly, set on counter at room temperature for 3 days.  (My mixture did "expand" as the fermentation process worked, and I had a little leakage so it might be a good idea to place the jar in a pan to catch the liquid.)  Transfer to refrigerator.

I'm assuming this mixture will keep for several months in the refrigerator (if it should last that long) as most fermented foods do, and the flavor will most likely only improve over that period.

You can bet I'm going to make several more jars to have in the fridge for us to consume as we go into winter this year.  Plus, I'll be able to profitably use all these great slicing cukes that are taking over the house!

23 comments:

gld said...

Great minds and all that: I have been looking at some Korean foods. Check out kimchi, a similar concept as your recipe.

gld said...

P.S. I am saving it as: Mama Peas American Kimchi

Susan said...

Hurray! I have been looking for a simple fermented recipe and you have done all the work! I will be making this, you betcha.

Mama Pea said...

Glenda - Having tasted a couple of variations of kimchi (not mine, but someone else's) that was kind of what I was shooting for. Thanks for the name you put on it! It led me to the thought of maybe calling it Minnesota Kimchi. ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Susan - You've always been clever at coming up with good fermented foods yourself! Hope you like this one.

odiie said...

Thank you, thank you. I've tried fermenting foods and haven't found one that tastes good. I'm trying your recipe.
Odiie

Old School said...

Chimkee? Pickle salad?

We make sauerkraut here, and it's wonderful. Eat it with Tofurky kielbasa - mmm.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - We like it so much that even though we'd had our daily quota with breakfast yesterday, we each had some with dinner last night! I'm making cottage cheese again today just so I can have another good supply of whey to get more jars started. Hope it works for you!

Kristina said...

I would love to try this, but I have no access to whey. No raw milk to even make cheese with this year. Wah! I bought a fermenting kit, but haven't even opened the box yet.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Old School - Thanks for commenting! Chimkee? Pickle salad? Nuthin' new under the sun, is there? If only we all had the knowledge to know about all this stuff . . . how much better off we all would be! And, yes, homemade sauerkraut can't be beat. Someday, I'm gonna learn how to make the horseradish my grandpa did. Grandma made him grind the root out in the back yard 'cause it was so strong! :o)

DFW said...

Sounds good. Think I can thaw some frozen whey to use?

odiie said...

You can make whey with store bought, organic, plain yogurt. Just drain like you would cheese overnight. Ta da! Whey.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Thanks for reminding all of us about that easy way to get whey (no pun intended!) :o}

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Yes! I've never done it, but have read that you can successfully freeze whey.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Looks amazing!!! Hubby would die if I made pickled anything and had it fermenting on the kitchen cabinet or in a closet/pantry. He can smell the vinegar a mile away....there's no hiding it on him. The man hates anything pickled :-( I grew up on fermented/pickled items. Is there away to ensure he wouldn't find it if I made it?? Suggestions?? LOL

Thanks for the recipe!! Maybe I'll wait until he goes to work out of state :-)

Heidi said...

I wonder if it would be good with zucchini instead of cukes?

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Isn't it strange the different likes and dislikes (hates??!) we all have? Because this fermented "kimchi" doesn't have any vinegar in it, it has no vinegar-y smell . . . even when a little of it burbled over out of the jar while I had it sitting on the counter. But I can understand why he wouldn't like the "fermented" flavor either. So, yep, maybe you'd better wait until he's working out of state! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Heidi - I wouldn't hesitate at all to try it with zucchini. Funny thing, my slicing cukes are still coming on like gangbusters . . . but my zucchini have stopped producing. What's with that?

Rain said...

My tummy rebels furiously...I had a spinach salad the other day and I had HELL to pay...I wonder why that's so? I can eat a pound of cheese like an apple and get no bad reaction!!! I love your recipe! We are big fans of coleslaw here and I make it a few times a year. Maybe fermenting can be added to my new found Mason jar/canning obsession?

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Better watch it, girlie. You're gonna become a dyed in the wool home canner/preserver in no time at all!

Laurie said...

Ok, I finally had the chance to come take a look. This sounds easy and I definitely want to try it, however, I don't know how to make cottage cheese, either. Where would I find whey?

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - You can get really good whey for fermenting by purchasing a quart container of organic, plain yogurt, tying the whole contents of the container in cheesecloth, hang it to drip over a bowl overnight or for about 8 hours. Don't squeeze the bag or you'll get more solids in the whey which you don't want. The liquid (whey) you get will keep in the refrigerator in a covered glass jar for a long time. The solid remains of the yogurt can be used as a cream cheese or sour cream substitute.

Laurie said...

Thank you, Mama Pea! I'm sure going to try this.