Pickle Your Fall Vegetables With A Lacto-Fermented Process

recycled paper cutting board

Durable! Our employees swear by our Epicurean® Cutting Board. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at Lehmans.com.

I have always made a lot of pickles. We eat something pickled nearly every day. Pickled beans and beets are our favorites with carrots and cauliflower nearly as popular. We like bread and butter pickles too. Lately, I have been making a lot more lacto-fermented pickles than traditional canned pickles in brine. We can make a ½ gallon of pickles and eat them over the course of a few weeks and then just make up another crispy batch.

The process is really simple too. All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board and some ½ gallon jars. Almost any vegetable can be fermented although a few things don’t appeal to me. I have tried pickled greens and found them, well; odd is all I can say about them. Continue reading

Lactofermenting for the Time-Challenged

Stainless steel bowl available at Lehmans.com.

All the root veggies are washed well, not a speck of soil remains. Then they air-dry. Use a colander, or spread on your counter on a clean dishtowel. Stainless steel bowl for photo spiffiness only! (Lehmans.com has ’em.)

Alrighty then, it’s that time of year. The garden is starting to really gear up and I have more produce than we can eat before it goes bad. My plan for filling the pantry with wholesome and delicious foods that have less than 5 ingredients, none of which came out of a lab, is working.

Pickling for people disinclined to boil vinegar
So, what is a girl to do with all this bounty?

I know, I’ll lacto-ferment it all. I like lacto-fermented veggies, so does the hubbin, and I really actually find cutting up veggies to be enjoyable. I’m weird that way!

And as a completely unrelated bonus, lacto-fermenting things is so incredibly easy that even I can’t mess it up. Though I thought I had and threw out the first batch I ever made: more on that later.

Lacto-fermenting is what creates sauerkraut, kimchi and cocktail onions, to name some of the more commonly known results of the process.

Sandor Katz The Art of Fermentation at Lehmans.com

Make your own healthy, pure lacto-fermented veggies, vinegars, pickles and more! Pick up The Art of Fermentation now at Lehmans.com to get started fast.

It is a bacterial process, utilizing critters that are present in any environment that has not been completely sterilized (it will not work in outer space, so those of you reading this from the Mir Space Station, sorry, try it when you get back home), so yes, when I first got into this process I had to get over my germophobia and embrace the little things (metaphorically speaking). It’s similar to the fermentation that creates alcohol, just with different microbes.

Which brings me to examine exactly how one goes about lacto-fermenting, rather than creating carrot booze accidentally.

We want to attract the right kind of microbe, so we have to create the right kind of environment. Think of it as very, very small game trapping, because the microbes are all there, hanging out together. We want to encourage the lactobacilli, while discouraging the yeasts (alcohol) and other things that would spoil our food. Continue reading

In a Pickle…and Those Darn Tomatoes!

Try pickled beets in the Perfect Pickler! It's available now at Lehmans.com.

Perfect Pickler: large size fits your 1 gal to 2-1/2 gal wide mouth jar; small size fits your 1/2 pt to 2 pt wide mouth jars.

Beyond Pickles I have always made a lot of pickles. We eat something pickled nearly every day. Pickled beans and beets are our favorites with carrots and cauliflower nearly as popular. We like bread and butter pickles too but by now, last year’s are are getting a bit soggy and nobody likes a soggy pickle. Lately, I have been making a lot more lacto-fermented pickled than traditional canned pickles in brine. We can make a ½ gallon of pickles and eat them over the course of a few weeks and then just make up another crispy batch. The process is really simple too. All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board and some ½ gallon jars. Almost any vegetable can be fermented although a few things don’t appeal to me. I have tried pickled greens and found them, well…odd is all I can say about them. Continue reading

My Kitchen Is Alive!

My countertop fermenation farm:

My countertop fermenation farm: sour pickles, red cabbage kraut, kefir, the pizza dough and apple cider.

There’s something to be said for a quick and easy meal, that can make a hurried, hungry person happy in a matter of minutes.  A fried egg, for example, or a peanut butter sandwich, or a handful of cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine. 

But there’s something very different and just as beautiful to be said for foods that take a long time to create. Fermentation is a hobby of mine, I have to say—I get more excited about creating vast quantities of sauerkraut than consuming it, as delicious as it may be.

When, the other night, I looked at my counter and saw a total of 5 different cultured foods fermenting away (fyi: sour pickles, red cabbage kraut, kefir, sourdough pizza dough, and apple cider), I decided I had to write about it. Continue reading

The Pickled “Beet” Goes On

Finished pickled beets have a lovely color.

Finished pickled beets have a lovely color.

I guess I went a little bit overboard but really, this time it’s not my fault. I planted the beets eight weeks ago and we immediately had a month of constant, unrelenting rain.

Fearing the worst and not wanting to be beet deprived I replanted in another bed. As soon as the seeds were in the ground we had a month of Texas-style heat here in Western Massachusetts.

Once again I assumed a failed crop so I replanted again. Of course a few days back, I happened upon bed number one and discovered a terrific crop of beets. And the second bed has sprouted too, and now I find myself with an embarrassment of beets. It’s far too early for any of these beets to go in the root cellar; I’ll plant a late crop for that so these ‘early’ ones will need to be pickled. And pickled and pickled. Continue reading

Easy Bread And Butter Pickles Simply Delicious

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Canning holds a lot of sentimental value for me—the popping lids and steaming kettles of food evoke warm memories of my mother’s and grandmothers’ cozy kitchens and home-canned goodies. That alone makes it worthwhile, but canning has other benefits as well. Buying large quantities of fruits and vegetables in season saves money on our yearly grocery bill. I like knowing where my food comes from and what’s in it.

Pickles are one of my must-can items every year. Home-canned pickles delicious and easy to make, they are considerably cheaper than store-bought pickles and free of the corn syrup, preservatives and artificial colors often found in commercial brands. Continue reading

Add Pop To Your Pickling With Fermented Dills

Click here to get this national bestseller at Lehmans.com.

Click here to get this national bestseller at Lehmans.com. It’s THE book to have if you’re into fermenting.

There seems to be a rapidly growing movement toward returning to traditional methods of preserving foods, such as canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, and even… fermenting.

Fermentation particularly seems to be an unfamiliar concept in our fast-paced culture today. Often times when Americans think of something being fermented, they equate it to being rotten or spoiled. We forget that sauerkraut, in fact, is a fermented food. And it’s highly nutritious for you, as are many fermented foods! Almost every culture around the world incorporates fermentation in their daily food preservation techniques. Americans are slowly beginning to re-learn this forgotten art. Continue reading

“Angelic” Dill Pickles Bring Sweet Memories

stilllifedills

When your cukes, garlic and dills are completely fresh, your pickles will be perfect! Click here to see a popular reference from Lehman’s!

I don’t make dill pickles anymore! I used to, for years. And when I did make them, many in my family like them and feel that the recipe I use is a great one.  But in the past few years, I have not made anymore.  Let me take you back to explain why, and share my pickle recipe with you.

In 2004, husband Norm and I bought our “forever home” in southwest Minnesota.  In October of 2005, we retired from Historic Murphy’s Landing in Shakopee, Minnesota, and moved down here.  Norm got a job and I stayed home, planning to start retirement in January.

On November 22, 2005, Norm fell and hurt his neck.  He had only been working for about 6 weeks, so had no insurance at work.  I took him to the VA in Sioux Falls, where they discovered that his neck was broken.  He spent a week in the hospital, getting a “halo” to hold his neck still so that it could heal, as surgery was not an option. Continue reading

Peach Perfect Pickle Pitch Perfect!

Wide-Mouth Ball Half-Gallon Canning Jars are great for storing Peaches!

Wide-Mouth Ball Half-Gallon Canning Jars are great for storing Peaches!

Peaches are in season, and I know that I’ll be canning some soon.

Recently, I found some canned peaches and one lonely, dusty jar of pickled peaches that I had forgotten all about.

It was such a treat to contemplate, especially on a cold, damp, dreary afternoon. I pulled out some pork chops to cook up for dinner as a juicy piece of pork with a garlicky glaze is the perfect foil for the tart, spicy sweetness of the peaches.

I’ll pass on my Peach Perfect Pickle recipe but with a caveat. I include the directions for canning this pickle but if you do can it, you will lose some of the texture of the peach. It’s still good, mind you, but to fully appreciate this pickle you really should make up a batch and keep it on the shelf. My family can eat two quarts in a sitting but we are serious eaters and there are quite few of us. Continue reading