I have been busy the last few days fermenting some of the fall veggies I have harvested recently. Fermenting is one of my favorite ways to preserve the harvest as well as to add flavor, and fermented veggies in particular are loaded with probiotic bacteria that are beneficial for human health. I have many different recipes I use for fermenting, and I also love to experiment with new ones. This time of year I am usually using members of the cabbage family to ferment, and in this case I used cabbage, kohlrabi and daikon radishes.
First off, I had a head of cabbage from the garden that weighed just under two pounds, and I used it to make a batch of Fermented Curtido, also known as Salvadoran Cabbage Slaw. In addition to the cabbage it has carrot, onion, garlic and hot peppers in it, though I have made it with sweet peppers as well. I add a bit of oregano to it also, either fresh or dried. I do most of my fermenting in wide mouth glass jars, though crocks are also a popular alternative. This was enough to fill a quart jar.
Next, I made a jar of kohlrabi kraut using a couple of the big Kossak kohlrabis from the garden. This is a simple recipe with two ingredients: kohlrabi and salt. I generally use 2% to 3% salt by weight for this kraut, and I peel the kohlrabi and grate using a grater with medium to large holes. I usually use an antique grater that belonged to my mother and is likely as old as I am.
Once grated, I mix with salt and let sit for a few hours before packing into a jar. I had just under two pounds of kohlrabi after peeling, and it was the perfect amount to fill a quart jar and leave about an inch of headroom. I do sometimes add a few cloves of raw or roasted garlic to the kohlrabi, but for this batch I didn’t.
Last but not least, I used some of the purple daikon radish from the garden to make a couple of pint jars of kkakdugi kimchi. This fall I grew Sweet Baby and Bora King radishes, and both do well in my garden and when fermented. For this recipe, I peel the radishes and cut into cubes about 1/2 to 1 inch or so in size. Then I soak the cubes in a 5% brine solution for 6 to 8 hours.
Next I make a seasoning paste from onion, garlic, ginger and gochugaru flakes, using a bit of the brine to add moisture and get the right consistency. My full recipe for the seasoning paste is here: Homemade Kimchi Two Ways. After soaking in the salt brine, I drain the radishes and mix with the seasoning paste before packing into jars. This batch of radishes was enough to make two pint jars of kimchi.
The radishes retain much of their purple color after fermenting, and mine generally stay crunchy too. I found a jar from a year ago that has held its color and was still crunchy and flavorful. It made for a tasty side dish for lunch the other day.
I will let all these ferments sit for two to three weeks before refrigerating. Most experts say the best temperature for fermenting sauerkraut is 65°F to 75°F. Our kitchen generally runs around 74°F this time of year so I let the jars sit on the kitchen counter. Once refrigerated, the kraut and kimchi will keep for several months. In the case of the radish kimchi, it is still quite edible after one year of refrigeration.
For more information on lacto-fermentating vegetables, I can recommend a couple of books I use for reference on the subject. One is Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer. The other book is Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey. Both address the basics of fermenting vegetables at home, and also have a lot of useful recipes, many of which I have tried. Both will help to make sure your fermentation projects are successful, as well as to give you ideas.
I hope you have enjoyed this update about some of the foods I have been fermenting lately. I’ll be back soon with more from Happy Acres!