If there’s one thing that’s been lingering on my to-do list for way too long, it’s home fermenting. I already make easy homemade yogurt, but I dream of homemade kombucha, kefir, kraut and fermented fruit. My foodie dreams are coming true this year thanks to Delicious Living, who has provided a list of probiotic-rich fermented recipes and tips on home fermenting to get me started (my goal for this spring and summer!) And, as a member of their network, I get to share them with you!
Fermented Fruit: Strawberry Rhubarb Chutney
My mom has a huge patch of rhubarb, and every year I get the call, “Will you please take some of this!?” This year, her strawberries need to be thinned, too, so I’m hoping to grab both strawberries and rhubarb to start patches of my own so I can start making fermented fruit at home. Besides pies and jam, this fermented strawberry rhubarb chutney is something that the entire family can enjoy (over pancakes! on toast! on pork tenderloin!) while loading up on healthy and helpful priobiotics.
- 2¼ cups diced strawberries (⅛-inch pieces)
- 1 cup sliced rhubarb, pink stalks only, discard leafy tops
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon whey (liquid from the top of a yogurt carton) or milk kefir
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan noniodized salt)
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns or ½ jalapeño, diced
- 1½ teaspoons rapadura sugar or organic evaporated cane juice sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, whey or kefir, salt, peppercorns or jalapeno, and sugar; mix until well combined.
- When mixture is well combined, begin to spoon it into a 24-ounce glass mason jar or other sterilized glass fermentation vessel. After every couple spoonfuls, use a wooden tamper to pound the chutney mixture tightly into the jar. (TIP: Tightly pack the chutney mixture to eliminate trapped air bubbles. A glass weight is handy for keeping the kraut submerged.)
- Wipe the inside lip of the jar to remove any stray berry pieces or liquid. Then cover jar tightly with a regular or airlock lid. Set jar in a dark, cool place to ferment for 1 week, or until bubbles form and chutney takes on a fermented, tangy taste. When fermented to desired taste, place a new lid on the jar, mark it with the date, and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
Fermentation time: 1 week
A Beginner’s Guide to Fermenting at Home
What is lacto-fermentation?
We asked the experts at Delicious Living to explain, and here’s what they provided to get us started.
Lacto-fermented foods are fermented by lactobacillus bacteria, a category of beneficial bacteria that feeds on sugar and produces lactic acid as a byproduct. This is why lacto-fermented foods taste acidic. Most lacto-fermented foods are nothing more than whole, chopped, sliced or grated vegetables placed in a brine of salt and water for a period of time at room temperature to let beneficial bacteria develop.
One of the most important steps in home fermentation is to keep the vegetables submerged in a brine to prevent mold or harmful bacteria from growing. The beneficial lactobacillus bacteria is part of an anaerobic category of bacteria, meaning that it doesn’t need oxygen for production.
Use these tips to ensure an anaerobic environment:
- To eliminate air pockets, tightly pack and pound chopped vegetables and/or fruits with a tamper and add salt.
- Use weights to submerge fermenting foods in the brine, and opt for airlock lids. Wipe the rim clean of any exposed food or liquid before sealing.
Mold & yeast:
If a fuzzy, raised, white/blue mold appears on your ferment, throw it out and start again. Unlike with cheese, you’re not trying to grow mold, and the type of mold that forms on your ferment will not be a type you can ingest. It’s best to err on the safe side and start over.
Visit Delicious Living for more on lacto-fermentation at home, including what supplies you’ll need.
Recipes for Homemade Fermented Foods
Ready to get fermenting? Start with fermented fruit, or one of these other probiotic-rich recipes from Delicious Living’s May 2016 issue: