Fermentation Fascination Continues

Prepped for the fermentation jars

Good Color: Prepped for the Mason jars

After my first fermentation attempts 2 weeks ago, I was eager to try more. And what are long weekends for, if not fermenting with friends?  And, might I add that my first batch of Slaw was long gone? We consumed all that probiotic yumminess in about a week. Using the simple “add salt and let sit” method, I used the second half of my red cabbage for another batch of Fermented Red Cabbage Coleslaw. This time, I put some elbow grease into it and left the Cuisinart in its cupboard. Here’s my recipe for fast and easy fermented slaw, inspired by Feedmelikeyoumeanit.

Fermented Red Cabbage Slaw

1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
Kosher salt

Special Equipment: Kitchen scale, 2 1-pint mason jars

Fermented Coleslaw - red cabbage, onion, bell peppers and carrot

Fermented Coleslaw: red cabbage, onion, bell peppers and carrot

Mix all vegetables in a large, non-reactive bowl. You can use your Cuisinart to chop the vegetables, or simply chop up by hand. Weigh the bowl of vegetables and for every pound, add 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt to vegetables. Mix well. My batch weighed about 3 pounds, so I used ~8 teaspoons of salt. Using your hands, begin to pack the vegetables into a mason jar. After every handful, press down, making space for more. You want to pack the vegetables in tightly, and may be surprised at how much goodness you can fit into one (relatively small) jar. Leave about an 1″ space at the top and seal tightly. Repeat to fill other jar. Set aside in your kitchen on a countertop or pantry for 4-5 days. Taste after 2 days, opening the jar carefully over a sink. When you open, the contents may be bubbling, so do be careful. The slaw is ready when you like the taste of it. It will be sour and crunchy.

Place in the refrigerator and use within 3 months. You will be surprised at how crunchy and tasty the vegetables are (and remain!). Enjoy!

Fermentation Frenzy

With the new year, I’ve been motivated to try a few new things: fermenting, healthy cleansing (read: no juices or starvation), and taking real food cooking to a new level. I’ll start on fermentation and why it’s piqued my interest.

Hubs and I started taking a liquid probiotic supplement every morning last fall. We both agreed that we felt better after taking it – helped to keep us balanced and the digestive tract functioning more smoothly. I became a fan and a repeat customer.  Two issues: it’s hard to find and pricey. Well, what’s in this magic elixir but the extract of fermented real foods? 

I found inspiration from many fellow bloggers in the real food community about fermenting:

And so I began last week. I started with lacto-fermentation, straining a container of whole milk plain yogurt and reserving the liquid that resulted (whey). Thanks to OhLardy! for the step-by-step instructions here. A fun by-product of this was ultra-rich homemade Greek yogurt, which I had for breakfast this week. With my homemade whey, I tried making sparkling orange juice – add a few tablespoons of whey to OJ for a probiotic rich drink. And then, I moved on to fermented coleslaw.

Red Cabbage Fermented Slaw

Red Cabbage Fermented Slaw

Red Cabbage Fermented Slaw

Red Cabbage Fermented Slaw

Roughly following the Fermenting Vegetables recipe from Feedmelikeyoumeanit, I made my first batch of slaw using salt as my fermenting agent. Super exciting. I used my Cuisinart to shred 1/2 head of purple cabbage and slice 1 whole yellow onion, grated 1 carrot by hand, and then used the equivalent of 1 sliced red bell pepper that I had “put up” over the summer from Wolfe Spring Farm‘s CSA. Felt like a regular homesteader, I did.

The recipe filled 2 – 1 pint Mason jars. After 2 days of rest, I carefully opened one jar to test it and tamp it down. As forewarned, open carefully! There are live cultures inside and pressure builds. The concoction bubbled up and spilled ruby-colored juice on the counter, but it needed a few more days to “cook.” I sealed the jars back up and left them alone. By day 5, we were ready. Shifted to the fridge, my fermented slaw was ready to go. Crunchy, salty, savory, I ate several forkfuls with my dinner last night and loved it. I can’t say that the digestive benefits were felt as immediately as with taking a supplement, but I knew I was eating something real and homemade.

Taste the goodness

Taste the goodness

Have you ever fermented?