Yeah for Cultured Veggies! I have tested, tasted and experimented with making fermented veggies for about 20 years (maybe more). My point is that I have made them in so many different ways. You can do it too, and the best reason to make them yourself is that you can make them so delicious. I still like mine better than anything I can buy. So, do it!
Watch this video. It is on the long side and I do somethings with my hands that you should not do. You will note I use my hands quite a lot with the food. If you do this, YOU MUST make sure your hands are super clean. Also, you must make sure that the all the utensils, equipment and counter surfaces are super clean.
If you have a question when you begin or end the process, just drop me a line below and I will answer best I can.
Below is another video on harvesting the veggies. Then below that I have made some notes that pertain to the process that might help you out. There is also a link to some recipes, although I think you should make up your own. Good luck!
Here are helpful points to consider:
1. Make sure the container you make the veggies in is clean.
2. Clean: Whatever container you use, make sure that the inside of the container, bowl or crock is super clean from the top of the veggies to the top of the dish. In other words, if some food particles get left on the side of the container above the salty brine, they could attract mold. This is because they are unprotected. The brine, plates and canopy protect the veggies being cultured. But, above the line mold can attract easily. In my experience, there are many times that mold has appeared on the inside of the container on the rocks and even some floating on top of the brine. This does not mean the veggies are ruined. I have never had to throw a batch out if they are properly submerged below the canopy and brine.
3. Mold: In the situation where there is mold on the top of the container or on the brine, make sure you clean it all off before you lift the canopy to harvest the veggies. I usually wipe it very clean and pour off the excess juice on the top and discard it before I lift the canopy. Discard the canopy and all the juice on top if it has any mold.
4. Taste: This is the best way to make sure your veggies are good. Once you remove the canopy, then scrape off the top layer (not always necessary, but makes me feel better). I take a deep whiff (smell), then a small taste. You will know. Like I said, I have never had to throw a batch out. When you refrigerate them, the flavor will get even better.
5. Smell: I have had many students call me and say, "I thew out the entire batch because it got foamy and smelly. Hear this: foamy and smelly is good. A natural foam can appear on the top of the brine. There is also quite a smell that comes along with the process, which depends on the vegetables that you use. For instance, don't use broccoli. It smells horrible. I remember the first time I used onion. OMG, it stunk, but the veggies were delicious. I still use onions in all my batches.
6. Keep the process simple. A good way to start is to start small. Perhaps use a large glass jar. You don't even have to have a lid. You can place another jar full of water to act as a weight. Place it on a small canopy and then cover with a salty brine. Then cover it with a cloth and put in a dark place to ferment.
7. Timing: I went to a class once where we ate the veggies the next day after making them. I don't recommend that, but it is possible. I like to recommend at least 4 days. I ferment all of my big crocks for at least 2 weeks. I get an excellent product from 10 days to 2 weeks. Once you refrigerate them they will continue to ferment but very slowly.
8. Sea Veggies: If you use a lot of sea veggies like kelp or dulse, know that it can make the mixture gelatinous, which means kind of thick. I used a lot in one batch I made and the juice was kind of slimy. It gave me the creeps, so I am careful how much I use now. In a very large batch with about 5 cabbages and a lot of other vegetables, I only use about 1/3 of a cup of kelp granules or dulse. So, keep this in mind.
OK, now give it try! Let me know how it works for you. Also, if you are need, or would love a 30 minute consultation with me, just let me know. Write me at: Susan@ChefTeton.com