Fermentation Station

_DSC0634“Fermentation Station, it’s the new sensation!” Like Conjunction Junction, right?

Well, it feels that way around here as we begin our lacto-fermentation experimentation (see what I did there?). We started with these Chioggia beets, then moved on to Early carrots, and now bush beans. All of them took fewer than two weeks to ferment and were super-duper wicked easy. Here’s how we managed to not to screw it up:

 

 

 

 

_DSC0631We started with amazing produce. Luckily our garden appears to produce produce (I swear I will stop) that is exceptionally tasty. These beets are on the small side, I suspect because I didn’t thin them early enough and there wasn’t a whole lot of room to grow down into the beds. But they are perfect for lacto-fermentation.

Lacto-fermentation is the process by which harmful bacteria, like botulism, which cannot tolerate a lot of salt, are killed off, while the good bacteria, in this case lactobacillus, thrive. The lactobacillus acidifies the food, creating lactic acid, which is extremely beneficial for your gut flora.

_DSC0633A lot of people shred their beets before fermenting them because it makes them more tender after fermentation, but I cubed these because they are way prettier that way. That is a scientific fact.

 

 

 

 

_DSC0635I then added one tablespoon of sea salt per cup of warm, distilled water. In this case, I used a quart-sized mason jar and filled it up 3/4 of the way, so a ratio of 3 TBSPs of salt to 3 cups of warm water. I stirred the salt into the water until it dissolved, then I added the beets, put the lid on, and left it alone in a warm place next to the stove for three days.

After three days, the seal on the lid began to form from the pressure of the gasses being released by the fermentation process, so I “burped” the jar, basically removing the lid for a second to release the gasses. I did this one other time during the ten-day fermentation process, and then it was done.

 

 

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 That’s it. Depending on the food, the climate, and the salt:water content, fermentation takes between three and 12 days, but I have yet to let it go that long.

These are our Early carrots. They were even easier and took less time than the beets. Again, you can shred these like you would for sauerkraut, but I chopped them.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20140804_204008_329Since there is no need to go through the process again, I will just show you the end product. These were fermented in a pint-sized mason jar filled to the top, so two tablespoons of salt to two cups of warm water, and I think filling it all the way made a huge difference. The seal was tight by the second day, and when I burped it on the third day, it exploded in frothy bubbles to the rim of the jar. When I burped it again three days later, the same thing happened, so I tasted a carrot, and the process was complete after only six days.

On to beans. I am sure they will be as easy, delicious, and healthy as the rest. Lazy homesteaders, this one is for you.

 

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August

_DSC0662“Here we have but two seasons—winter and August.” -anon.