Note from Shannon: I am pleased to bring the voices of our lovely contributors to this space every Tuesday. Please welcome Janet, CFH Customer Service Rep & cultured kitchen-keeper.
Healthy addictions grow. One of mine started when I was a child watching my Grandfather tend to his garden each night after work. Back then; I remember thinking he was a bit crazy for spending so much time growing food for his family, from seed to harvest. He grew everything from beans to corn and my favorite, apricots. To this day I have yet to taste an apricot as good as his.
When starting my own family, the attention to health through food has steadily piqued my interest and with each passing season, I am adding something new to our food repertoire. Ceasing our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription a few years back, we decided to go at it ourselves and hacked off half of our front lawn in order to create a veggie haven.
A haven for veggies creates a strong internal whisper calling “What do I do with all of these vegetables?” Being a member of a family of four, I am regularly looking for solutions to that question without duplicating the same meals or giving away most of our rewards.
Enter lacto-fermented vegetables.
What a fabulous way to preserve the bounty without going through the canning process (which I dislike). I prefer the old school way of salt with the addition of whey for added probiotic benefit.
Starting in late spring I make “green” sauerkraut consisting of kale, beet tops, and swiss chard. When the garlic and onion scapes arise, I like to store them as well, chopped in chunks so they are easy to put into salads.
And one of the favorite on-the-go lunch options is our mixed veggies in a jar. I take carrots, green beans, mushrooms, asparagus, cucumbers, and whatever else I grow, and ferment it into quart mason jars. I also like adding garlic cloves and sprigs of herbs for extra flavor. I top the jars with glass weights so the tops of the vegetables are not peeking; which could lead to bad bacteria that could create mold. Ferment for 3-4 days at room temperature and then place in the fridge.
This recipe for naturally cultured carrots is one I have been using a lot lately.
Whenever we need to round out a lunch or have snack, we just grab a jar and head out the door. Viola! Enjoy your bounty, whether it is from your own garden or from the farmer’s market and extend it into the winter months. You will be glad you did!