How to ferment any vegetable…
It’s very simple really. All vegetables that come out of a healthy, well cared for, organic garden contain on their surface all of the bacteria needed for proper fermentation. Using pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or any other chemical (not talking about organic ones here) will kill this bacteria. And the use of chemical based fertilizer will lead to an imbalance of bacteria on the surface of the vegetable, so vegetables fertilized with a chemical fertilizer may not readily lend themselves to fermentation either…but you can try it. I’ve only ever fermented homegrown veggies or those grown by local organic farmers, so if you are able to successfully ferment (non-organic) commercial veggies from the store, I’d like to hear about it! 🙂
First, select your vegetable(s) (radish is the easiest) and wash off any visible dirt. Then, all you do is take those vegetable, or mixture of vegetables, chop them into bite-sized pieces and put them in a mason jar sprinkling with a bit of salt (make sure you use REAL sea salt, NOT Morton Brand Industrial ByProduct Salt!) after every layer. When the veggies get about 1 inch from the top of the jar, screw on the lid very loosely and put the jar in a cool dark place…I like to use the back corner of my kitchen cabinet under the sink.
The bacteria responsible for fermentation are “anaerobic” which means they do not need oxygen to live. That is why you screw the lid on, the combination of salt with an oxygen-less environment makes sure that all bacteria are killed except those that are responsible for fermentation. The salt will also draw water out of the veggies, making it’s own “brine”.
After 2-3 days in a cool, dark place I then top it off with a hefty pinch of salt (REAL sea salt) and fill it to within 1 inch of the top with pure filtered water (do not use TAP WATER unless you filter out the chlorine and fluoride first…otherwise it WILL KILL the bacteria.) Recap tightly and shake the jar really well. Then recap loosely to allowing the gases of fermentation to escape. At this point I just let the jar sit on the counter, tasting the veggies a couple times a day, when it reaches my desired degree of fermentation (and I’ve been fermenting things for 7 years now so I tend to like things a bit on the “funky” side LOL!) I store the jar in the fridge to slow the fermentation down and keep it.
When you are ready to experiment you can also add in all kinds of flavorings…garlic, mustard seeds, dill or dill seeds, caraway seeds, allspice berries, thyme, tarragon, rosemary…just to name a few of my favorites. The varieties and combinations that you can create are endless! 😀