Fermenting the Garden (and tips for fermenting in the heat)

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For many of us, this is the time of year to lock summer’s bounty away for those long winters. Whether you’re taking advantage of a sale at your local grocery store, picking up a haul from the farmer’s market, or bringing in an apron full of produce from the garden – these fresh, delicious vegetables won’t wait.

Such is the case for our garden. This time of year is actually not terribly conducive to fermentation here in Central Texas. With triple digit days expected for much of the next month or so, I usually ferment more for short-term food preservation than a six-month stay in cold storage.

Still, there are a few tricks up my sleeve for hot weather fermentation which I plan to implement with those veggies coming from our garden.

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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Lacto-fermented Anaheim Peppers

anaheim peppers

Anaheim peppers are a mild chile pepper popular for canning. Skip the water bath this year and do an easy fermentation instead!… 

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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Cultured Vegetable Care and Maintenance

cultured vegetable care

Sometimes people regard lacto-fermentation as a very scientifically precise process. Beginners often get stuck on certain details and become frustrated when their batch doesn’t work out just like the steps and pictures. People frequently will ask, “How long will this batch of sauerkraut take to culture at x temperature?” assuming we have a secret mathematical formula. Though there is science involved, the process is not quite so black and white. Hopefully some of these points will help demystify some of the alchemy some people perceive when making cultured vegetables…. 

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Eve

Eve

For my 7th grade Science Fair project I cultured yogurt. I received first place in my division and competed in a regional competition. My fascination with cultured foods has stuck with me ever since. Over the years I have made yogurt, fermented vegetables, sourdough, kombucha, and also love sprouting and dehydrating. In my spare time I like to knit, bike, garden, cook, and study natural medicine.

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Lacto-Fermenting the Garden and Long-Term Storage

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Along with dehydration, fermentation has been used for a very long time as a way to harness food preservation. Without refrigeration, canning, or freezing; these means of putting food up were critical for the safety and livelihood of cultures everywhere.

But in our modern day culture where these other high-energy means of food preservation are available, is it even necessary to pursue such a challenge? Is it too good to be true that you can ferment pickles in minutes of hands-on time instead of standing over a boiling canner in the height of summer? Is it possible to preserve food for months with an age-old method? After all, if it doesn’t actually preserve the pickle for long periods then, besides the health benefits, is it a practical solution?

After many years of practicing lacto-fermentation and talking to those who do the same – all without refrigeration – I’ve poked around to find the answer.

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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