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Fermentation is EASY!

Putting some away for a rainy day

Post Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:02 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1055
It must be because I figured it out.

Last year I made some sauerkraut and some kale that turned out REALLY great, especially the kraut. :yahoo: So I have decided to share my experience and method with y'all.

The method I am going to show you is an anaerobic process. Oxygen will totally mess it up. There are many methods but I like this one.

The first thing you need to do is prepare the equipment.

What you need first is a LARGE MOUTH mason jar and seal. Any size will work but quart and half gallon seems to work best.

I first drill a 1/2 inch hole in the seal of a mason type jar. I used a spade bit as shown. I cannot remember if I drilled a pilot hole first, but that would be helpful. 1/16 to 1/8 would work fine. Put the seal on a piece of wood, like a 2x4. Drill from one side, but not all the way through. Then flop it over and finish the hole.

Lid Hole.jpg
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Next you insert the grommet into the hole. It is a 3/8 ID x 1/2 OD grommet. I got mine on Ebay. Might need a little help with a screwdriver if your fingers are not really strong.

Grommet.jpg
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Like I said, this is an anaerobic process so you need something to hold the stuff under the water level. Again, there are LOTS of ways to do this. With certain product you may not even need this part.

Ferment-Hold-Downs.jpg
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The small one in the pic is from last year. I had to add WAY too much water and as the product released its own water, well it would have made a HUGE mess if Renee had not insisted on a bowl underneath. This year I used the BOTTOM of the jar to make my pattern. You will see in a later pic how well this worked out. No water overspill either!

You will also need an airlock. This part assures an oxygen free environment. Again, I got mine on Ebay. Just let me know if you have trouble choosing and I can help you. Do not post links to Ebay on here as the links expire.

Saurkraut.jpg
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What do you need next? ORGANIC veggies: cabbage (for sauerkraut), kale, chard are easy ones to start with. I did some carrot sticks this year. You do not have to do just one veggie either but I suggest it for your first couple of times. There are lots of recipes out there to try or come up with your own creation. This year I added garlic to my kraut! It was good, but I will add less next time.

Why organic? The little critters that you need to do the preservation live on organic veggies. Store bought MIGHT have some, but it has been so washed and processed that the population is probably minimal at best. It will take WAY too long or you might have to add something to kick start the process, like liquid from a previous ferment. Some use natural whey. I used chard from our garden this time.

You can rinse off the veggies, but DO NOT SCRUB THEM! Very important. Gotta keep the critters intact. You can also tear, chop or shred the veggies if you want.

OK, how do you get the stuff into the jar. You pound the livin' snot out of it! Literally. :clap: You need to open up the cells and release some of the juices. I use my Vitamix tamper to do this. Any NONMETALIC rod will work though. Put some in the jar and then pound the heck out of it, cramming it down into the jar. Do a little at a time. You will get the feel for how much works.

Once you get about a quarter of the way up the jar STOP! You will need to add some salt now. It is suggested to use 1 tablespoon of salt per quart. Divide this in fourths. Add one portion now and at each quarter completed. I put just a bit less this time since the kale I made was too salty for me. Don't skimp too much because the salt keeps the bad critters in check until the good critters can take over.

You need to stop about an inch and a half from the top, right about where the jar starts necking down. This allows plenty of room for an air gap at the top and to top off with water to COMPLETELY submerse the veggies. The air gap will be the take up for any liquid released during the ferment as well. For veggies with LOTS of moisture, like cabbage, you might want to drop to two inches. You can always put the jar into an overflow container though, so no big deal.

OK, you have your veggies all nice and crammed into the jar. Now you insert the hold down device and top off with any needed water to just cover them up. You want room for water expansion as I already described.

Hold Down.jpg
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Install the seal and ring, insert the airlock into the grommet and find a warm place out of direct Sun to put the container. As in the picture above write a date on the jar. Maybe even write down what you put in the jar if you did a recipe.

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WARM PLACE???? Yes, the critters that do the work like to have temps between 70 and 80 degrees f. Trust me, it works out just fine. It is OK if it is cooler, it just takes a bit longer. Too hot would be a bad thing to do though. It will kill your colony of critters.

Chard.jpg
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After 3 to 5 days the fermentation should be done. The length of time determines how strong a flavor you wind up with. My sauerkraut I did for 5 days. I cannot remember how long I did the kale for. Once the time has passed replace the airlock seal with a regular seal and put in the fridge to stop the process. You can actually try it out before you cool it off.

Here is my finished sauerkraut from last year. Notice how it had a slight change in color? Not all produce will change like this.

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WARNING! If you do not make enough you may not have any to put into the fridge. :scared: It will last for several months while chilled.

One of the things I hope to do this year is make FERMENTED SALSA!!!!!!!! :thumb: I have read that fermented ketchup is quite excellent as well. UPDATE: did not get to either the salsa or the ketchup.

If you do things correctly all should be fine. People have been doing this for hundreds of years. That being said, here are the

Obligatory warnings: If it does not smell right (rotten egg or sewer smell) then it probably is not right. My first attempt was some green beans (sans salt) that did not turn out. There will likely be things floating around that will make the water less than clear. That is OK. If there are noticeable signs of mold down in the water toss it. If there is just a touch on the surface, scoop out the top bit and give it a chance. That probably came from a bit of material poking it's nose up out of the water. Educate yourself, do some reading and watch some vids.

Post Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:09 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 931
One of the biggest problems with Steven's method for kraut making is that he doesn't use large enough jars so that he can give more to his friends. :(

These fermented foods are an extraordinarily important source of helpful gut flora (probiotics) and can really benefit digestion and over-all health.

Doc

Post Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:32 pm

Posts: 69
I just harvested my apple cider vinegar. It was a new experience making it, but fun! We used two recipes:

1. We used quart jars of freshly pressed apple juice from our organic apples- Gala, McIntosh and Red Delicious- We stirred in a dash of Bragg's apple cider vinegar, covered the open jars with cotton muslin and a rubber band, then placed the jars on top of our water heaters. Within 3 days it smelled like a brewery, as the sweet cider turned to hard cider. Gradually the hard cider turned to vinegar. The recipe said it would take 4 to 6 month to finish the vinegar, but ours was ready in 3 weeks. It was delicious.

2 We used the crushed apples left from making our apple juice and filled large jars 1/3 full. Then we added 2 tsp. of Muscavado sugar (any kind would probably do), a dash of Bragg's vinegar and fresh spring water to 2 inches from the top. These were also covered with muslin and placed in the water heater room. As the mixture fermented a large scobe formed on top of the apples which were floating at the top of the water. I probably needed to stir more often than I did to mix it in. This vinegar tasted just as good as the vinegar made from our apple juice, and both were ready in 3 weeks! When it is finished, strain out the apples, bottle and label and it is ready for use.

I could have made more, as we had lots of crushed apples that went into the compost, but I had no idea how easy and fun this would be. We netted just under 2 gallons of the apple cider vinegar. Next year, if the apples produce, I'll make much more and use the vinegar for neighbor and friend gifts at Christmas.

Post Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:22 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1055
We are also working with natural yeast now. Normally even a pinch of bread is enough to put my wife's digestive system AND the rest of her into a tail spin. When wheat flour products are made as a combination of natural (wild) yeast and long processing times she can eat much more. She has not tried eating a LOT yet, but a 1/4 piece of bread or a small pancake made this way has been OK with her so far.

We made our flour mother from a fermented grape water solution.

Post Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:34 pm

Posts: 69
Did you see the recent article online by the Happy Home Economist that says that the problem people are having with conventional wheat may not always be with the gluten. She interviewed a man who knew the processing of wheat and he told her that the wheat crop was sprayed with RoundUp a few days before harvesting to cause it to dry out. This process makes it easier to harvest the wheat. The point of the article was that it could be glycosophate that people are reacting to, rather than the gluten or lectins. Interesting. It is certainly worth it to use organic wheat, and always ferment!

Post Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:18 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1055
What do you mean by "a few days" as I did not see that article. (send me a link by message) The reason I ask is it takes up to 10 days for roundup to START to take affect and 2 - 3 weeks to completely dry out the plant.


Post Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:22 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1055
MANY comments from people saying they are wheat farmers that say: BUNK. I think so too for the reason mentioned above.

Post Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:07 pm
SageWoman wrote:
Did you see the recent article online by the Happy Home Economist that says that the problem people are having with conventional wheat may not always be with the gluten. She interviewed a man who knew the processing of wheat and he told her that the wheat crop was sprayed with RoundUp a few days before harvesting to cause it to dry out. This process makes it easier to harvest the wheat. The point of the article was that it could be glycosophate that people are reacting to, rather than the gluten or lectins. Interesting. It is certainly worth it to use organic wheat, and always ferment!




Has there been a consensus on this here? I don't much discussion and am interested in more if there is more. Thanks!
KarenRicksWife


"The Happiness of Your Life Depends Upon the Quality of Your Thoughts" --Marcus Arelis

Post Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:13 pm
Finally found what I was looking for Idaho...You meany. Making me work for it. ;) Thanks! I will definitely visit more often and start posting more again. I have been gearing up to teach a series of classes at the community college here in Riverton on the Lymphatic system and could easily share my notes here. Perhaps not in this thread but you know what I mean. Thanks for the fermented foods information to all so far who have shared. I appreciate it.

Karen
KarenRicksWife


"The Happiness of Your Life Depends Upon the Quality of Your Thoughts" --Marcus Arelis

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