Lactofermenting vegetables is easy:
- Cut (and generally peel vegetables)
- Crush them with your hands a bit (to break down the cell structure; there are exceptions like whole pickles
- Add salt (3%-5% or about 2-3 tablespoons of coarse salt per quart of veggies)
- Top with unchlorinated water
- Submerge (often with a weight) and leave in a warmish place in your house.
- Check daily and remove mould or froth.
- Taste often. They’re generally ready in 5-30 days though some recipes or ingredients vary.
Simple, right? In a word – yes.
But a lot of recipes seem to call for adding water the moment you add the salt. And, while this technique will work, I generally prefer leaving the salt on the vegetables for a few hours (and even over night) instead. This leaves the vegetables in a high percentage of salt to start the process which draws our water from the vegetables in a hurry. I believe this leads to crisper pickled vegetables and I prefer the taste.
If course the world of fermentation allows for great experimentation so you may prefer the water right away – buy you’ll never know unless you try both!
Which way do you ferment (or do you do it differently each time)?