Now a whole month late, I’m finally posting a follow-up to my last cultured vegetable update. (If you don’t remember that one or if you never read it, go here.) Here’s how everything went.
As planned, I let them ferment for a full week at room temperature. I placed the jars in the guest bathroom’s bathtub to make sure leaks would not be devastating. I’m glad I did, because even though I tightened the lids very carefully, they still leaked. Clearly, I need to leave more room at the top. I’ll try filling them only 3/4 full in the future.
Also of note were the strange puffs of green foam on the edges of the lids when I went to retrieve the jars. I have to admit that these scared me a bit. Nevertheless, I bravely wiped off the lids and popped the jars in the fridge for another week before trying them. According to the recipe’s author, aging them a bit after fermentation improves the flavor.
Now, if you recall from my last post, this was a new recipe that did not require a culture starter, and I was more than a little nervous that the good bacteria might not overpower the bad ones. That’s why I enlisted my husband as my guinea pig.
I know, I’m really sweet.
But guess what? They were good. Really good!
And nobody died of food poisoning.
Morals of this story:
1. Green foam is okay. Really. Don’t be scared.
2. Culturing vegetables works great even without a culture starter. My mother-in-law did suggest, however, mixing in some veggies from a previous batch before putting a new one out to ferment. I think that’s a great idea–just to be sure the bacteria balance gets off to a good start. I also read another suggestion of using a little bit of homemade whey to get the good stuff growing. Since I’m making kefir these days, that would be another easy option for me.
3. The marinara-style cultured vegetables are really, really tasty. But much to my dismay, the website where I found the recipe isn’t working now. I’m very sad. I’ll keep checking back, but if it doesn’t start working again soon, I’ll just have to wing it. Making cultured vegetables isn’t precise anyway. Next time, I’m going to post exactly what I do so I won’t forget.
I’m really loving this cultured vegetable habit. It is such an amazing source of good bacteria and enzymes, and it’s so inexpensive. I even enjoy the taste. Then again, as my dear friend Susan remarked on Thursday, maybe I’m getting a little hard-core. I think she makes a good point. I have vegetables fermenting in my bathtub, real kefir grains culturing raw goat’s milk in my kitchen cabinet, and young coconut water fermenting on top of my desk. Hmmm…at least my friends aren’t running away. Yet.
[Edited: To see the recipe for Marinara-Style Cultured Vegetables, go here.]