Thursday, August 19, 2010

Even Better Pickles

My pickle kick is continuing unabated. We eat a little bit every day. But I've discovered that I'm not quite on the right track with the pickle thing.

Pickled foods are the right idea, but the REAL idea is fermented food. The vinegar-sugar route is a short-cut.

So I'm trying it the old-fashioned way.

I sliced up some cucumbers, onions, and carrots. These were all mixed together in a bowl with 2 tbsp sea salt, a few cloves of garlic, and some mustard seeds. The idea is to mix and mash for 4 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables have reduced and let off a lot of their juices.

Then I packed them into jars (which I first sterilized). I filled the jars to the top, making sure there was plenty of the liquid covering the veggies.

Aren't they beautiful? The jars are left on the counter for three days, with a loose lid. After that, they can be stored a few more days in a cabinet, then refrigerated.

I really want to be able to store these things in a cabinet, to have veggies throughout the winter. In the past, I think people kept them in their basements or someplace very cool. Perhaps I can keep them in our garage. It stays plenty cold in the winter. But for now, I think the jars have to be refrigerated, which is disappointing.

The quandary is, the vegetables are in season now, so now is the time to ferment them. But I don't have a cool place to keep them.

I'll have to work on that.

Oh, and one tip I found out about: putting a grape leaf in the jar keeps the vegetables crisp. So I "borrowed" a few leaves from our neighbor's vines that grow over our fence.  We'll see if it works.

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