Fermenting is a new thing for me. When I was a kid, some friends of ours let me see their crock of homemade sour kraut. I’m not sure what was wrong with it, but something about that crock really turned me off. For a long time I wouldn’t eat kraut and then when I did, it was only the sterile kind in jars from the grocery store.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about how good fermented foods are for you, and so has by husband. He recently said he wanted to start eating more fermented foods and I shook it off as fast as I could because I couldn’t get that nasty old crock of kraut out of my head. Then Storey Publishing sent me a book about fermenting vegetables in the mail (I hadn’t asked for it, it just showed up in my mailbox!) and I started reading. 2 weeks later, Matt, from Fermentools.com contacted me about doing a review of his new airlocks, lids and weights for fermenting. Taking all of this as an undeniable sign that I should experiment with fermenting, I said yes.
Two days later I had a box of lids, airlocks, weights and salt in my hands. Add those to my canning jars and all I needed now was courage and vegetables.
My Very First Ferments
I started with carrot sticks because some friends of mine said those were their favorites and even their kids like them. Being one to experiment with flavor I quickly decided to forgo the easy brine-only version and make two different flavors. For the kids I made a jar with a big sprig of sage and a halved date for sweetness. For hubs and I, a quart of carrot sticks, garlic, and onions with a couple small sprigs of rosemary.
In 5 days I checked the ferments. The sweet version looked fine… clear brine, no floaties. But, the spicy jar was all cloudy (which doesn’t necessarily mean fail!) so I opened it and whew! The smell was horrid. I’d done something wrong and there was no way I was going to taste those carrots so they quickly found themselves in the compost. The sweet carrots I put in the fridge to cool. Later, I tasted them. No bad as far as tartness and fermentation goes. But the sage was a bad idea. I’ve saved them to shred and maybe add to a soup, but I didn’t enjoy them enough to eat as snacks and neither did the kids. It was just too much sage. I definitely want to try carrots again, but plain this time.
Second Try at Fermenting
Next up was pickles! I chose a very simple recipe that was just cucumbers, fresh dill and a salt brine. A week later they looked great. After chilling I tried them. Perfect crunch and lovely dill but WAY too salty. Like eating salt out of your hands, salty. It was only 1/2 teaspoon for the quart, but dang!
I think this fermenting thing is going to take me a while to figure out! I’ve had two successes now, as far as safe, edible ferments go, and only one failure. But, I haven’t quite figured out the flavors.
What I Have Fermenting Now…
Pamela, from Cedar Hill Chronicles, was nice enough to share with me how she makes a very basic sour kraut. I have a small batch of that fermenting right now, along side a cranberry orange relish recipe from my Fermented Vegetables book.
Where to Get Your Own Air Locks, Lids and Weights for Fermenting
If you’re new to fermenting like I am and you want to get started the easy way, these high quality products from Fermentools.com are just the thing! They’re easy to use, easy to clean and will boost your confidence as you begin your fermenting journey!
This post is part of a series of fermenting posts I’ll be writing to chronicle my journey and to review the Fermentools product. These products were provided by Fermentools for my review, but all thoughts, ideas, failures and successes are my own!