There is something quite humbling about writing a blog.
Even though I may sound like I know what I'm doing, if I'm bein' honest here, half the time I don't have a clue.
Since I began my blog, all those seven(ish) months ago, I have already changed the way I do multiple things. For example, I have an entirely new soaked whole wheat bread recipe that I use. Not to mention, I now grind my own flour. Looking back on past posts, I suppose, is a good way to remember my journey. However, it can also be quite humiliating at moments.
Like when I got you all excited about using sourdough starters to cook bread, pancakes, and cookies…
And then I forgot to feed my starter and it died faster than a pet gerbil.
Yikes. I never told you that little fact, did I?
Today, I know I am venturing into one of these humbling moments. And because I document our food/life/family journey every day, you all get to bear witness to it.
Anyway, I do have a point. Today, I made my first batch of lacto-fermented vegetables. Because Sally Fallon can word this much better than I ever could, please read the following:
“It may seem strange to use that, in earlier times, people knew how to preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machines. This was done through the process of lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. These lactobacilli are ubiquitous, present on the surface of all living things and especially numerous on leaves and roots of plants growing in or near the ground. Man needs only to learn the techniques for controlling and encouraging their proliferation to put them to his own use, just has he has learned to put certain yeasts to use in converting the sugars in grape juice to alcohol in wine.”
I started with the “easiest” transition lacto-fermented vegetable – gingered carrots. And the technique was pretty simple: Shred the carrots and ginger, add salt, squish with a meat mallet (or in my case, wooden pummel) to release the juices in the carrots. Then, stuff into a mason jar, allowing the released carrot juices to cover them. Leave it out on the counter for three days before moving to cold storage.
“The ancients understood the fact that important chemical changes took place during this type of fermentation. Their name for this change was ‘alchemy'. Like the fermentation of dairy products, preservation of vegetables and fruits by the lacto-fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation, but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. Other alchemical by-products include hydrogen peroxide and small amounts of benzoic acid.”
How about that.
I don't know what these are going to taste like. And because lacto-fermentation is an “artisanal craft”, there is a chance they may not process correctly at all. They may taste like dog poo-poo.
But on the other hand, they may taste delicious. They may be so rich in nummy enzymes that my gut shall be eternally happy. I may have found an easy, inexpensive, and natural way of preserving fruits and vegetables through the winter that takes far less time and energy to complete.
If it is delicious, I shall be a blogging queen.
If it is poo-poo, I shall be most humbled.
“Lactic-acid fermented vegetables and fruit chutneys are not meant to be eaten in large quantities but as condiments. They go beautifully with meats and fish of all sorts, as well as with pulses and grains. They are easy to prepare, and they confer health benefits that cannont be underestimated.”
Aren't you happy you get to witness all my trial-by-fires? Lucky for you, if I have screwed up and have just made carrot poo, I can warn you of the impeding putrification (and thus, spare your tastebuds from such a tragedy).
I will let you know as soon as Stuart taste tests them. If he doesn't die, maybe we can even venture into the sauerkraut!
He is the best guinea pig in the world.