My first fermented pickle

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Two jars of pickles - ready to eat!
Two jars of pickles – ready to eat!

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop on fermenting vegetables, presented by Sandor Katz (organised by the always-wonderful Milkwood Permaculture).

This covered a range of different approaches to using lactic acid fermentation to preserve vegetables.

The first and simplest technique is the one that most took my fancy (it was also the one Sandor recommended the most).

It goes like this:

The food processor made light work of even hard vegetables.
The food processor made light work of even hard vegetables.

Start with a mix of hard vegetables, in our case:

  • beetroots (red and yellow)
  • daikon (white radish)

Slice them into small pieces, by hand or by food processor. With the slicer attachment of our food processor, this took mere minutes.

The vegetables, crushed by hand with salt.
The vegetables, crushed by hand with salt.

Put everything in a large bowl, and add salt to taste. (I tried 3% salt as a first test, but next time I’ll use a little less.)

Crush and squeeze it by hand, until as Sandor put it, “you can wring water out of a handful like you would out of a sponge”. This only took about 5mins of easy work.

Ready to ferment!
Ready to ferment!

Squeeze the vegetables into jars, and pack down until the water level rises above the vegetables.

Put the lids on, and then watch and wait! Because I was doing a very quick pickle, I didn’t worry too much about keeping air out (there are a heap of techniques for doing this).

Each day I checked the pickles, as well as getting Priscilla to taste test. After just 3 days, the vegetables were soft enough (and not too sour) for Priscilla’s taste. Into the fridge they go!

This is a super-simple preserving technique, and I’ll definitely be doing more of this.

Some footnotes for future reference:

  • 1kg of vegetables, which made approx 1L of pickles (as Sandor had predicted)
  • 3% of salt (use less next time, a bit too salty for our salt-reduced diet)
  • 3 days pickling

5 thoughts on “My first fermented pickle

    Carolyn Graham said:
    March 8, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for sharing this James. Great fermented vegetables recipe. I am assuming you just use salt, and don’t need any starter culture. I’ll give it a go! 🙂

    Humpy Creek said:
    March 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Looks fantastic

    Laurie Nguyen said:
    March 9, 2014 at 3:36 am

    These look great! I love the color of it. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    […] my first fermented vegetables, I took the plunge, and created a jar of fermented chilli and […]

    Anderson said:
    June 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Asking questions are genuinely good thing if you aare not understanding sometthing completely, but this post presents
    pleasant understanding yet.

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