I was having digestive issues a few years ago. I guess I was kinda outa balance. Sick, meds, repeat.
I made the decision to try… to try to help myself. I started to read and learn, and what I found in respect to stomach stuff kept leading me to fermented food. Lactic Bacteria.
So, armed with a little knowledge I set out to start fermenting food. I was nervous at first, I mean leaving veggies in a crock for a couple of weeks on the kitchen counter, then eating them seemed kinda scary. But medication side effects are scary too.
The first crock I used was not for fermenting, but it was a crock. Actually it was the crock from my crock pot. I figured, what the heck, its a crock.
No fancy tools or implements required. I used the crock, a glass bowl that fit, and a jar of water. I covered it with a cloth, and let ‘er rip. After two weeks I tasted it, and waited to see if I would get sick. After putting it in jars, and putting it in the fridge, I was still alive a couple of days later. The sauerkraut was crunchy and delicious. I was not for the faint of nose though.
I needed to use my crock pot for, well , cooking, so I invested in another 3 gallon crock that I found at a local store. It still wasn’t for fermenting, but it held more.
I had to modify my techniques to keep the veggies under the brine, and cover the whole operation.
I decided to just try new ideas and experiment. I know it doesn’t look fancy, but it works. I used a bamboo spoon, bungees, a little cooling rack under the crock to hook the bungees to, and a glass pot lid with the handle removed used upside down. I covered it all with an old baby blanket.
I eventually got a cabbage slicer (way better than a knife), and made up my own little system for fermenting.
It is important to use canning or sea salt, not iodized salt. I have used up to a tablespoon of salt per head of cabbage, down to a teaspoon. It is important to be salty enough that the bad bacteria and germs can’t survive. The lactic bacteria is salt tolerant, that’s why it works.
One day, I was cruising the thrift store and to my great suprise…
I found a, never used, German fermenting crock. Complete with lid and stones, all still in the original box. FOR $20!
I couldn’t believe it.
Due to an over abundance of beets in Grandmas garden, and the fact that not many people like great big beets, my dear cousin recommended that I ferment some beets.
So, here I went down some kinda uncharted territory. They were hard on the slicer, and I didn’t quite know how much salt to use. I layered the beets, and sprinkled sea salt on them. I added water, and let them ferment for 2 weeks.
I found out that fermented beets are freakin great. They came out with just enough crunch, not too salty, and not bitter at all. Delicious!
All of this is from my own experiences. I don’t guess I recommend doing it one way or another. I just enjoy trying different and new ways of doing things.
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