Fermenting

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

  1. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Acquaintance

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    That sounds great.
     
  2. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Finally going to pickle tomorrow. Will start with my favorite - onions. Also some peppers and kimchi.

    Also dumb question but what do you guys normally find has no chlorine - bottled water? I don't have a fancy filtration system that gets out all the chlorine, etc.
     
  3. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Acquaintance

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    Chlorine in most tap water will evaporate if you boil it or set it out long enough. No fancy filtration needed.
     
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  4. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Brita filter and I boil the water and let it cool down. The boiling is mainly to sterilize but also works to get rid if any dissolved gases

    boiling would also be the stage where you introduce stuff like bay leaf, peppercorns and coriander seed to release those flavors
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  5. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Acquaintance

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    Interesting idea about boiling the spices. Will need to try that out.

    Also, it is worth mentioning that I've successfully fermented most of my projects with just water straight from the tap. Of course that'll depend some on your local water supply.
     
  6. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Filtered with something similar to a Brita I had + boiled. Scooped hot water into separate bowl, made desired % brine solution, then added spices/seasonings and stirred more in bowl. Let it cool down a bit until it was warm (cool enough that I could stick my finger in, but not room temp), then added other ingredients to individual brine mixtures.

    Did 2 different styles of onion (1 like pickled Mexican onions, one like sweet US Southern style - both with a different method of pickling than the jalapenos), jalapenos (cheap/easy, more of a "first time learning" than anything), and got the kimchi started although I won't be letting it sit in the brine for very long - using first solution to soften to taste/preference and also to clean the napa cabbage out. Will drain this temporary brine and make actual brine later. Will share results and hopefully pictures later on.

    @roscoeiii - Not just with brine, but cooking/spices in general, you typically want to heat them up a bit at some point in the cooking process (dry if you're cooking normally, in the water is fine here) to get more flavor out. Can also add spices at different stages of cooking for different results from the same spice, etc.
     
  7. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    So - not sure if my peppers are coming out correctly. I've had the peppers going for 3 weeks now - they're still pretty crispy/firm. Also, just to confirm, the brine has turned white/cloudy towards the bottom of the jar and the peppers just taste like peppers + brine + tiny bit of yogurt-y / fermented flavor.

    If it matters, 2.5% brine, stored in the same Bormioli type jars at ~65-70F in a dark closet. Washed jars + peppers + hands during handling of all things and water was boiled and then cooled before brining. Have been letting out excess gas every few days.
     
  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    white stuff on the bottom is likely yeast and usually a good sign. I don't know how much experience you have with fermentation, but most of the time the stuff I ferment stays pretty crispy. Only cucumbers and tomatoes have really gone mushy on me.

    Sounds like you are on the right path. 2.5% seems like it should ferment faster. For hot peppers I do closer to 4% and it nearly takes me two months. Just keep trying it every week until it's where you want the taste. Than either store in the fridge to slow down fermentation or make hot sauce.
     
  9. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    This is literally my first time pickling and fermenting anything on my own. Thanks for guidance. Sounds like I'm on the right path.

    Was worried about staying crispy b/c most of the times you get pickled jalapenos at Mexican restaurants they're at least a little soft... granted, store bought and made en masse vs made in jar at home, yada yada.
     
  10. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    lacto-fermentation changes a lot of what you previously thought about pickled foods. Think more the pepperocini you get with pizza. Before I thought soft/mushy stuff was normal. However that's what happens when you use vinegar. Not to mention that many times they are required to do pasteurization which effectively cooks your vegetable ferments, also contributing to softening food.

    The first time I successfully made sauerkraut and I had a crispy slightly tangy cabbage, I knew I wasn't going back to store bought.
     
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    C6EC4347-4317-49D9-9167-04E6C02E29DD.jpeg

    Chinese fermentation jars are the way to go. They have an extended lip for water and you place an inverted bowl on top to form a seal to let gas out.

    Main issue is the mouth on top is a bit smaller so you need some kind of vegetable muddler to mash things down. Also not easy to get fermentation weights in there, which you won't really need anyway due to the seal. Otherwise its great for smaller stuff like peppers or chopped vegetables.
     
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Cool thread.

    Are you all disinfecting your containers first? Seems like an important step I haven’t seen mentioned.

    I haven’t pickled but I sprouted everything in sight for a while. Even black beans before cooking. I was curious if it would enhance digestion and lead to less gas but I don’t get gas from beans so I don’t know. I wound getting kind of worried about the health safety of it and getting myself sick. So I stopped.

    I’ve got some chronic health issues that involve digestive problems so I’m kind of chicken shit to try it because food poisoning would be soooo bad for me. But otherwise id probably be fermenting everything in sight like @Cspirou

    have you noticed any changes in your health or energy since adding all this fermented food to your diet @Cspirou ? It’s supposed to be super good for you.

    I’m also curious after reading this thread how companies sell real fermented foods. They’re not common but you can get real fermented (brine not vinegar) pickles and some other stuff. Bubbies is a common brand of real good fermented pickles. I’m curious how they bottle them and stop the fermentation process. They’re just sitting on the shelves for a long time.
     
  13. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    ^ I wash mine out before I do anything. All surfaces the food touches will be cleaned (pots, bowls, whatever). Hands are cleaned throughout the process as well as even the stuff on your skin can mess things up.

    I didn't notice any positive health benefits from all the fermented food I've enjoyed throughout my life. However, I have noticed that my gut is a little better and more robust since eating a small amount of yogurt and extra probiotic regularly (every other or every 3 days). Also have the occasional kombucha and other misc. cultured products.

    Many "real" fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi don't have that long of a shelf life and/or need to be refrigerated. Otherwise most things that can sit on a shelf for a long period of time w/o refridgeration have preservatives and "stuff" added, etc... which if you have chronic health issues relating to the GI tract may not be ideal for you (IDK for sure though and I'm not a doctor)
     
  14. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I believe Bubbies pickles are very pure, just brine and cucumbers but it’s been a while since I checked. Could be some sodium something erother in there.

    I wonder if boiling the jars is necessary like it is for canning. Maybe washing is good enough since you’re creating an inhospitable salty environment.
     
  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    The most obvious is bowel movements. It's probably a bit underrated how easier and regular bowel movements contribute to overall health.

    I took a break for a bit and I definitely noticed a downturn in my general feeling in its absence. I was tired and had higher blood pressure. I don't quite know if it's because of probiotics as it might just be because it gets me to eat far more vegetables. Speaking of gut health, fermented foods will help just by the fact that gut bacteria thrive on fiber. Eating raw cabbage is a huge hassle, but I can easily eat a large quantity in fermented cabbage. It's an easy vegetable side with anything as I don't really have to cook it.

    I typically boil the containers if I am really concerned. But just soapy water is enough for me. The fermentation process itself helps as it produces hydrogen peroxide which is antibacterial itself and if you have waterlocks, there should be no contact with oxygen which encourages the bacteria you don't want.

    The real fermented stuff depends. The one really widely available naturally fermented product is kimchi and I always see it refrigerated, which slows down fermentation. Other options are pasteurization after fermentation, but that removes any benefits. Also common is to just replace the brine with vinegar has happens with some hot sauces.

    you're in the Bay Area, right? I might know a few places
     
  16. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I've never boiled jars, but I do wash them and rinse well. I use our decent tap water that I allow to sit for a day, shaking occasionally and then opening the lid to remove chlorine, and I make sure I am using NON-Iodated salt as well.
     
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  17. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Yes, forgot to mention, I boil the water for a bit to let whatever is in the water evaporate out.

    Slightly off topic, but since we are discussing "gut health", I have a vegetable smoothie a few times a week for this:
    Spinach, Kale, Frozen Berries (blend better vs fresh) or other fruits if you prefer, a medium banana, a little matcha, and some kind of super food or veggie powder. I mix a little yogurt and the probiotics mentioned above into this too usually. If I'm not having this with other food that has fats/oils, I'll put in a half tsp of walnut+cashew or pecan+cashew butter. Sometimes I'll let it sit for 30 min before drinking so the probiotics get some time to feed, etc.

    You can also add ginger, lime, lemon and avocado for an nice rich taste (probably need to take out the banana and walnut butter though), coconut whatever and pineapple if you want something pina colada-ish, acai berry if you like the health benefits, etc.
     
  18. scblock

    scblock Friend

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    I've spent quite a lot over the years on kimchi, so I thought it was high time I made my own. It's pretty basic stuff, and I ended up making a hybrid of a few online recipes based on my own preferences.

    • 1 large napa cabbage (this was about 3 pounds)
    • 10 large red radishes (korean radish wasn't readily available, I made do)
    • pickling salt (started with 1/4 cup, adjusted brine by taste)
    • 1.5 tbsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 6 cloves grated garlic
    • 3 tbsp fish sauce
    • 4 tbsp korean red pepper flakes
    I started by quartering the cabbage, then chopping into roughly 2 inch pieces. I washed this in a colandar, then put in a big bowl and rubbed the salt into the leaves. After about 15 minutes I added cold water to cover the cabbage and adjusted the salt so it was still briney but not as salty as seawater. Nothing scientific here I'm afraid.

    [​IMG]

    I let it soak about 5 hours. The recipes I read called for anywhere from 1 to 12. I ended up putting this together in the early afternoon and just came back to it in the evening. At the end of brining the volume of cabbage was reduced significantly. This makes sense as the brine is pulling water out of the leaves. I dumped the cabbage back into the colander and rinsed in cold water a few times to get the residual salt off.

    I mixed up the rest of the ingredients in a bowl until it was fairly homogeneous, then added the cabbage in. Combine by hand, make sure it's evenly mixed. I wore gloves to avoid too much pepper on skin action.

    [​IMG]

    I packed it tightly into a quart canning jar. Although the raw cabbage nearly filled my largest mixing bowl, one quart held nearly 90% of the final mixture. I put the rest in a second jar and tossed that in the fridge as an unfermented source for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    I set the jar with the lid loosely fixed in a bowl on the counter, in a room that sits at about 65 degrees. It's been 3 full days and the result is now getting that nice fizzy feeling from the fermentation, and the fishy flavor is mellowing out. I think one more day and I'll put it in the fridge and call it done.

    My thoughts on the process and adjustments for the next batch are pretty straightforward. Overall the method I used seems to work well and taste good. I used a little too much ginger, a little too much fish sauce, not quite enough garlic, and not nearly enough pepper flakes (I like it quite hot). It's simple enough that I'll have another go soon, with those small adjustments.

    Like with homebrewing beer I don't know that this will actually save me money, with honest accounting, but it was fun. I may try sauerkraut soon too.
     
  19. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Serious Eats just came out with an article on fermenting your own hot sauce

    https://www.seriouseats.com/2021/02/fermented-hot-sauce-how-to.html

    i typically don't do mash because it was my first attempt at hot sauce and it was a disaster. Brine is safer to me. Although now that I know a bit more I might attempt a mash again. Might be the only way to go with an especially large batch of peppers.
     
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