Fermenting

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by GoodEnoughGear, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I waited 6 days before doing a taste test. Although given the heat in SoCal I think I should have checked after three days.

    Cucumbers - These were the worst. When i tried to get one out with my chopsticks, it went completely through it. Ended up being mushy and when I found a part that was firm it was very bitter. I thought the whole batch was ruined but there were two on the very bottom that were still firm and the ones I cut in halves and spears were okay. Brine was 3.6% and temp for a few days were 80F - 90F. This is also a different cucumber type from the first batch sold as a 'pickling cucumber'. The first batch, while way too salty, had zero mushy cucumbers.

    Tomatoes - 2nd worst. These were mushy but not totally irredeemable. Taste was a bit sour. Not something I would eat by itself but I think it could be salvaged in a tomato relish or part of a salsa.

    Escabeche - excellent results! The only negative to report is that the radishes completely leeched out their red color and made the brine pink. Everything is still firm except the radishes which are a little softer but not too much. Jalapeños cut into rounds and quarters are much better this time around. I also still have some jalapeños I still kept whole, but they are at the very bottom and wasn't able to sample them. I suspect they are alright. Peppers are much less spicy then when they were fresh.

    Onions - excellent results! If you want a raw onion without the harsh taste, this is the way to do it. Onions are still crispy with a slight sourness. Seems nice to have a small bowl of these with a beer or glass of wine. I also think this works great as an accompaniment to pho or thit kho.

    Given that my cucumbers did better when my brine was more salty, I suspect that the water heavy cucumbers and tomatoes ended up diluting the solution a bit and it actually requires a higher concentration than 3%. I think the magic number might be 5%.
     
  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    So i believe I have uncovered some general guidelines in case you mess up

    -If your vegetables remain firm but have no fermentation then you have too much salt. Reduce the concentration the next time

    -if your vegetables turn out mushy then your salt content is far too low. Increase the salt concentration next time

    Ideally you want to find a salt level where your produce is preserved but bacteria can still thrive. Somewhere in the 3-5% range. Higher concentrations are better for large vegetables (whole peppers, cucumbers, etc). Lower concentrations are better when everything is chopped up (sauerkraut, onions, relish)
     
  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Doing another batch of cucumber. This time at 5%

    300C9957-99E3-49AF-9741-F728A2E7F3C2.jpeg

    I started on 12/12. They've been in the garage which has been 55f-70f. Mostly on the cooler side, so fermentation had been far slower. Here is what they look like after 7 days

    BD2106F3-6E50-4C3C-8911-E10F35886031.jpeg

    The darker ones on the left are from a jar I bought for reference. Mine are lighter. Already far better then my first two attempts, although not quite pickled enough. They need at least two weeks and probably closer to a month
     
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  4. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Update on my latest batch

    6F44F211-F109-4B62-A3D8-BE29C411D399.jpeg

    There's some white parts where it isn't fully pickled but it's 90% there. I read a lot of recipes where they say 7 days is enough but I don't see how that is possible with these. I bought 'pickling cucumbers' which very bitter fresh and I think the recipe people post are for the regular types people use in salads. These need a minimum of 2 weeks to me.
     
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  5. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    That's looking like the business! You should call them "Perseverance Pickles".
     
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  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  7. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Finished another batch. First two weeks there was no sourness. After week 3 though there was lots of bubbles indicating fermentation.

    F4DB7E1B-5C0B-4332-A756-85FCA923D800.jpeg

    If they still look raw it's a feature of the brine fermentation. Still crunchy.

    20762368-F319-4913-B0DD-F70F7FD5FBCD.jpeg

    Once again, make this your first pickling project. Serve along side olives when you have drinks.
     
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  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I've sort of turned this thread into a personal pickling blog. Anyway, here's something new

    CB8A15D0-A57D-4D84-B160-5EAA3CFEE29B.jpeg

    This is my hot sauce jar. Idea it to gather all the ingredients you would use for hot sauce and ferment everything in the same container. When finished, strain out the liquid and blend everything with some vinegar and some of the brine. In this jar I have habaneros, a carrot, an onion and some garlic.

    I also made a jar of pickled garlic and it turned completely blue! Apparently this is totally normal due to trace amounts of certain metals in the water. In China they actually do this on purpose and it's called 'jade garlic'.
     
  9. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Blended up the peppers but held back a little on the carrots and onions.

    2336CB31-5F21-4175-B2C3-7ADB6C4D2648.jpeg
    Instead of adding vinegar to get it to a liquid consistency, I added the brine. It's not as spicy as I thought it would be, but I think I did well for a second effort. Great color.

    I already got some ideas for the next batch and I plan on getting small bottles for Xmas gifting.
     
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  10. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Not all the time I see pearl onions. Been waiting to make extra special cocktail onions to go with a martini.

    DD9FBA32-88F5-4BC0-A126-8E8329D37495.jpeg

    I'm also testing a new technique for determining brine concentration. I was aiming 3% brine and they have their own liquid as well. I put the onions in a container and filled the container with water until barely covered (up to the 500ml line this time) and then I pour out the water into a measuring cup and check the volume without the onions (325ml). I then calculate the salt concentration using 325ml water but still using the salt quantity for 3% solution of 500ml brine. In this case it's a 4.7% solution, well within the range of fermentation and I don't have to worry too much about dilution.

    Note: sorry if this section is confusing. I might rewrite for clarity
     
  11. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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    Fermenting newbie here. Just sampled my cucumbers and cauliflower. Both of which need more time after 4 and 6 days respectively. What was recommended on Noma for brine was to calculate salt based on the weight of both the liquid and solid ingredients. Tends to be right about 16 g for 32 oz jars.

    I'm also seeing recipes re commend adding something with tannins to keep cucumbers crisp (also soaking them in cold water and cutting off the ends). Tannin sources can be grape, oak or bay leaves. Or green/black tea (does not seem to impart any or only slight tea flavorings).

    Excited to see a ferment thread here
     
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  12. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Anyone else doing more fermentation in quarantine? Just me? Anyway, here's some leeks I got at 3.2%.

    AD7DB2BD-B3DE-4369-99EC-4B5BCF673592.jpeg

    Don't know what I'll have it with, although it seems like a good idea with fish.

    The pearl onions I posted earlier seems to be fermenting quite slow. So the displacement formula I came up with seems a bit flawed. Next time I'll just stick to the old reliable 3%.


    That's why I've include bay leaves with almost everything. It helps that I have a bay leaf tree too
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  13. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Yeah, lots of kraut and Jalapenos this side. Easy peasy stuff we eat a lot.
     
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  14. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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    Lots of fermenting over here too. Haven't tried leeks but like the idea and grabbed 2 at the store this week. I'll probably start trying at 2% since I'm less concerned with these getting soft.
     
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  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Discovered a far better way that comes from the Noma book on fermentation. For almost anything use this formula (in grams):

    (vegetable weight + H2O weight) x (percentage/100) = salt in grams

    of course you need a scale for this. To apply this, zero out your scale with the container you plan on using and then add your veg and then just enough water to cover. After recording the weight, pour out the water and then mix the salt quantity from the formula. Than pour back the brine once the salt is dissolved.

    I feel like I came close with my own method except I depended on volume rather than weight.
     
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  16. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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  17. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    My Nth attempt at fermented tomatoes. I think I finally got it right this time. This is a very active fermentation (like cucumbers) so I pushed the brine up to 3.5%. Previous attempts were with cut tomatoes but I saw a vid where someone did it with whole cherry tomatoes, so I tried that out. After only three days they tasted sour and I think I can transfer to the fridge now at 4 days. Insides are a bit mushy, but acceptable to me given my previous results. I feel like this would work very well in a chicago style hot dog.

    In experimenting with recipes I made a relish with chopped up fermented leeks and preserved lemon that goes very well with grilled fish. Probably could use olive oil and fresh lemon juice to round out the flavors a bit.
     

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  18. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    after close to two months I can confirm they definitely do not get soft
     
  19. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Facebook Friend

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    Wow. Leeks sound great.

    How did the tomatoes turn out? I'd worry about them ending up too salty. I had some overly salty cucumbers at a lower % than that (unless I messed up the measurement). I ended up chopping them up into a relish because they were too salty to eat solo.
     
  20. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    i dont think they are too salty at all. I think they are good! Little bombs of flavor. I'm going to make salsa with some
     

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