A Lacto-Fermentation Journey

Looking for the Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Book Club? I’m taking this week off. It will return next Wednesday.

Two years ago, I shared a post on our Lacto-Fermentation Hits and Misses.  This post was written fairly early on in our real food journey and I was quite new to lacto-fermenting. 

Two years later and my passion for fermenting is even more than it was. If you have read my new eBook, Design a Dish, you probably noticed that cultured and fermented foods are a big deal at my house.  What? You haven’t read Design a Dish? Why not? It’s FREE! Click here for more information. 

I’m re-sharing the original Hits and Misses post below.  I’ve also added a few additional posts since that time on lacto-fermenting that you may enjoy.  One shares what I did with a big box of nectarines. Some of them were water bath canned but some were turned into Nectarine Chutney or Nectarine Syrup which were both lacto-fermented. Click here to read about nectarines.  Do your children like carrots? If so they will most likely love Spicy Pickled CarrotsHere I share 2 versions of these carrots. And for one of my weekly guest posts at Homestead Host, I share a video showing how easy it is to make Spicky Pickled Carrots.

Lacto-Fermentation Hits and Misses January 2010 (see original post here)

I have been enjoying my kitchen experiments involving Lacto-Fermenting. I’ve done quite a few different things and thought that an honest review of my results might be beneficial to others.

One thing that I have discovered is that I really love this option of preserving food. My husband thinks that I am slightly obsessed with it and he may be right. I have only tried water bath canning as a way of preserving food once (thanks Michaela for the lesson!) and that was fine but one thing with that kind of preservation is that it wouldn’t make much sense to do small quantities because of the work involved. With lacto-fermenting I can do only one jar if that is the amount of produce I have. Plus the benefits of lacto-fermenting are numerous. Fermented vegetables enhances digestibility and promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines (read more about Lacto-Fermentation here). After years of eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) this is something that my family needs. Remember, with lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables is they are meant to be a condiment. A small amount with a meal is perfect.

Mayonnaise and Ketchup both Lacto-Fermented
 
 
Before we get to the fruits and vegetables, I wanted to talk about lacto-fermented Mayonnaise and Ketchup.
I used this recipe from Cheeseslave as a guide for the Mayonnaise but instead of using all olive oil I did 50% olive oil and 50% coconut oil. The flavor was good but a little lemony. The biggest problem showed up the next day- the coconut oil became too solid and the mayo was not spreadable. I knew that the recipe was not a success when I caught Joe with the mayo jar in a hot water bath so he could spread it on his sandwich. Oops. I made a new batch yesterday and used 1/3 coconut oil, 1/3 olive oil and 1/3 toasted sesame oil (this is called Mary’s Oil Blend. I read about it in an online excerpt from Eat Fat, Lose Fat from the sample recipes). I checked the consistency this morning and it is still perfect. I think that the three oils together will work good. The flavor is good but not like store bought mayonnaise (I can taste the sesame oil). To combat the lemony flavor I used half lemon juice and half raw apple cider vinegar. It is now the perfect amount of lemon.
Original mayo- Miss. Second attempt- the jury is still out but I am cautiously saying Hit.

The Ketchup was a Hit. I used this recipe from Ren as a guide. I didn’t have walnut oil so I used olive oil and used the option of the anchovies. The taste was wonderful. Very fresh tasting. Joe loved it and declared it the ‘Best Ketchup Ever’. My son-in-law and the girls said it was okay but that it ‘bit their tongue a little bit’. I didn’t find it bit my tongue until we got to the bottom of the jar then I did notice it. Everyone (except for son-in-law) said I should make it again.

 
Lacto-fermented Turnips
 
This is one of my early vegetable attempts. I was given a bunch of Turnips by a friend and decided to lacto-ferment some of them. The turnips have stayed very crisp but they are very strong. I am the only one who will eat them. As a disclaimer, my family did not enjoy the turnips in any fashion that I made them. I think turnips might be a bit of an acquired taste. I made three jars of these, I still have this jar and another full jar. I guess I better get busy eating my turnips.
 
Turnips were a Miss.

Lacto-fermented Beets and Turnips

My neighbor gave me some beets from her garden. I still had some turnips so I did the Beet and Turnip recipe from the book Nourishing Traditions(1). Much better! The beets calm the flavor of the turnips.

Not pictured: I did straight Beets too. YUM. They were delicious.
Beet and Turnip combination-Hit. Beets alone-Hit.

Lacto-fermented Kumquat Chutney and Kumquat Marmalade

This is one of my recent experiments. I haven’t served them to the family yet but have tried them myself. The Kumquat Chutney is very good. I used the recipe for Cherry Chutney in Nourishing Traditions as a guide. I love the flavor of the Chutney it is spicy but slightly sweet at the same time. I will probably serve this alongside a meat dish, possibly with the Roast we are planning on having on Sunday.

The Kumquat Marmalade is interesting. It is slightly sweet but not as sweet as a regular store bought marmalade. I used the recipe for Orange Marmalade from Nourishing Traditions. There is a note at the bottom of the recipe that it can be made with kumquats. I think I am going to mix the Kumquat Marmalade with some yogurt cheese to make a spread to use for our sourdough bread.

Judging on my own opinion only: Chutney is a Hit. Marmalade- I’m still on the fence about.

Lacto-fermented Spicy Lemons

These Spicy Lemons are delicious! I was gifted alot of lemons when Joe’s Aunt and Uncle came to visit from California. The lemons were fresh off their tree. The are a smaller size (I do not know what kind of lemon) and worked perfect for this. I used the recipe for Spicy Lemons from Get Cultured written by Jenny at the Nourished Kitchen. I had to change the ingredients slightly to accommodate what I had on hand (I didn’t have red pepper flakes so threw in a few slightly crushed whole black peppers). These are great minced up and put over the tops of our meals. Last night we had it over Fried Chicken Livers (recipe from Nourishing Traditions). Delicious! It is also good on top of fish.

Spicy Lemons- Hit.

Lacto-fermented Spicy Carrots

Another major hit is Spicy Carrots. Even Angel (who thinks everything I make is ‘weird’) loves these. I got this recipe from a comment made by Alyss from this post by Wardeh. I left out the jalapenos because I never have them. The picture above is the second batch that I’ve made. The first batch I made 2 quarts and they are gone. In one of the two quarts I had one lonely turnip left so I julienned it and threw it in with the carrots. WOW. Was that good. I think I have definitely learned that if I’m going to lacto-ferment turnips they need to be mixed with something else to keep them from being over powering.

Spicy Carrots- Hit.

Lacto-fermented Kiwi Marmalade

Kiwi Marmalade sounded like a good idea. Joe’s aunt brought us kiwis in addition to the lemons (we also got persimmons but I didn’t lacto-ferment any of those). I was hoping for a sweet jam like result. That is not what I got. The kiwi taste is still very fresh but the saltiness is a little too much. I kept hoping that they would mellow a bit the longer they sat. And they have but still not enough. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with these.

Kiwi Marmalade-Miss.

Lacto-fermented Grapefruit Marmalade

I’m putting this under the Hit category. Grapefruit Marmalade turned out to taste very much like fresh grapefruit. A little tart and a little sweet at the same time. We have had it alongside meat dishes. It was especially wonderful with Pan Roasted Duck Breast.

Grapefruit Marmalade-Hit.

Lacto-fermented Cortido and Sauerkraut

I have made Sauerkraut four or five times now. Previously I used this recipe from Kimi, The Nourishing Gourmet and had great results. But when I broke one of my two large bowls it caused me issues with my kraut making. Inspired by this post from Annie I tried the method for kraut making that she recommended. It was quick and easy and didn’t leave me without a bowl. The flavor is slightly different than the recipe from Kimi but still good. We do love sauerkraut. It is often served alongside or on top of our meals. Joe and I love it spooned on top of our pizza after they are cooked. It is so good!

Sauerkraut-Hit.

This Cortido was my first attempt at it. I used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions but I didn’t have red pepper flakes so I used chili powder. It is delicious! Joe calls it ‘Salsa’. We only have half of the small jar left so I guess I’d better get some more ‘Salsa’ going.

Cortido-Hit.

Lacto-fermented Apple/Pear Chutney
 
 
Apple/Pear Chutney is from Nourishing Traditions recipe for Fruit Chutney but I omitted the crispy pecans and the red pepper flakes (I think I really need to buy some red pepper flakes) called for in the recipe. I used about 2 cups of pears and 4 cups of apples to end up with 2 quarts of chutney. I am not sure whether this is a Hit or a Miss. The fruit stayed very fresh and is still on the crispy side. It smells wonderful. The flavor is good most of the time but the occasional bite will be weird (from one of the spices I think but I don’t know which one) and it does bite the tongue a bit. Joe told me that he would say that he likes it if he knew that it was supposed to bite his tongue. We had it the other night with Supreme Chicken (another Nourishing Traditions recipe) and it was a good combination if we could get past that one spice and the tongue biting.
 
Apple/Pear Chutney- I don’t want to call it a Hit but not a Miss either. We will eat what I’ve made but in order to make it again I’ll have to tweak it.
 
 
Okay so that is my recap of our opinions of the results of my lacto-fermenting. Most have been a Hit but a few have been Misses (namely straight Turnips and Kiwi Marmalade and due to spread ability the Mayo made with 50% coconut oil and 50% olive oil).
 
 
February 2012
 

We have many regular lacto-fermented items that we keep on hand.  Spicy Carrots, Kraut, Kimchee, Salsa (okay, I can’t really keep this on hand, it is eaten way too fast!), mayonnaise plus a variety of other items that rotate. We also have several cultured dairy products plus kombucha and kefir soda.  I find a variety of items insures that there is always something for everyone.  Not everyone in my family loves each item I make but with the variety that we have it works out well.  Yes, I do have a refrigerator full of jars most of the time!  Would you like to increase your lacto-fermentation knowledge? I took the Lacto-Fermentation eCourse offered by GNOWFGLINS which really taught me some wonderful new things and now most of my ferment recipes come from that course. I highly recommend the eCourse (or any of the GNOWFGLINS eCourses) whether you are new to lacto-fermenting or experienced. Many of the items I made previously that were Misses, I think would now be Hits with the knowledge I gained from the eCourse.  Maybe not the plain turnips… those were pretty bad!

Do you lacto-ferment? What is your favorite item to make? What do your children enjoy the most?

 This post is shared at Fight Back Friday  and the Living Well Blog Hop.

Millie

Comments

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  1. Ann

    I have tried the ginger carrots from Nourishing Traditions. Way too salty!!! Did I so something wrong or is that how they are supposed to taste?

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      Millie

      Hi Ann,

      I made the ginger carrots once and they were not very good. Too salty for sure. I’ve considered trying them again using less salt.

  2. Teresa

    Hi! I too have made made the ginger carrots and not a fan. I am fairly new to fermenting; however I am really experimenting a lot. I have a question about your lacto fermented apple/pair chutney. Can sugar be added to that and dried cranberries, minus the peppers? Also I was wondering about adding dried coconut flakes.

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      Author
      Millie

      Hi Teresa,
      You could try a combination of just about any fruits for the chutney. Cultures for Health has several chutney recipes on their site that would make a great place to start. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cultured-condiment-recipes. I don’t do chutney for my family any longer. We found that it was a little too tart too soon and we couldn’t use it before it became unpleasant. I do, however, make this relish from GNOWFGLINS fairly often and we love it. http://gnowfglins.com/2010/12/20/fermented-cranberry-relish/.

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