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Fermentools Blog

  • Spicy Fermented Pickles

    Have I told you about my girlfriend growing up, and her mother's pickles? They were so hot, we called them "Wicked Pickles." After I moved away and then back again, I sought out my girlfriends mother and got her Wicked Pickle recipe. While totally unlike this Spicy Fermented Pickle recipe, Kristi brought back a fond childhood memory. Enjoy!
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  • Garlic Pepper Green Beans

    Posted by Andrea

     

    Green beans are one of my favorite do-it-yourself veggies. They are so easy to plant and grow, it would be silly NOT to grow them. I've only been gardening for about five years, and beans are the one vegetable that I can almost always count on thriving wildly, even if my thumb is usually blacker than it is green.

    My yearly favorite has always been Blue Lake bush beans, a known superstar which provides bean crops all summer long, but this year I stepped outside of the box a little. Inspired to experiment with varieties after a gardening friend sent me seeds, I grew yellow wax beans and an awesome heirloom called dragon tongue beans. I've realized there is a huge selection of beans to try growing beyond the typical Blue Lake, and it's opened up a new world! It's especially wonderful to try growing heirloom types, because the seeds can be saved year after year. No matter what types I ultimately decide are my personal top choices, beans will be a priority in my garden every summer.

    fermentools_garlic_pepper_beans

    Beans are not only fun and easy to grow, they are easy to preserve. While canning is a popular option, I often keep it simple by trimming and freezing them in 2-4 cup portions, giving my family beans all winter long to grab and toss in soup, or braise with garlic and olive oil.

    Another delicious way to preserve green beans is to ferment them. Guess what? Yep, you got it...it's one of my all-time favorite ferments! Green beans (and other varieties of pole and bush beans) stay so crisp when you pickle them. The cool thing about this recipe is that you can use any bean you like, or mix them up in the jar. I really love the way green beans and yellow wax beans look nestled together in a quart jar, or on my plate. Pretty, and SO delicious.

    You'll love these peppery, garlic-y, crunchy bites of fermented goodness!

    This particular 'recipe' was inspired by my friends at Young Urban Homesteaders, a dynamic couple who love to spread the word about fermented foods in our community (along with many other fantastic projects).

    Garlic Pepper Green Beans

    • clean quart mason jar
    • 2 c. filtered water
    • 1 T. mineral-rich salt
    • green beans (of any variety), left whole or cut
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 t. peppercorns

    1. Start with clean hands and tools. In a glass bowl or measuring cup, combine water and salt until completely dissolved, then set aside.

    2. Place garlic and pepper in the bottom of the jar, then fill with green beans. Pack the beans in gently, to maximize the space you have in the jar, until the beans are almost at the top (leave about an inch of headroom). Slowly pour in the salt-water brine, poking gently with the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick to remove air bubbles. Top the beans with a weight, leaving one inch of airspace, then put a lid and airlock on the jar.

    3. Allow the beans to ferment, out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures, for about a week, then taste. I love them best after one week, but you can certainly allow them to ferment longer if you seek a stronger flavor. Just be sure to check every other day or so, making certain no mold is forming and that the brine is not overflowing.

    4. When the beans reach the flavor you love, remove the airlock, place a lid on the jar, and keep your scrumptious bean-pickles in the fridge for 6 months to a year.

    Andrea gardens, forages, cooks and ferments on a little plot in the city. She loves spreading the word about age-old practices and making them new, exciting and feasible for everyone. Find her at LittleBigHarvest.com.
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  • How to Make Milk Kefir, Simply

    If you are looking for ways to include more cultured foods in your diet, you may want to try milk kefir. Kefir is yogurt’s runnier, drinkable cousin, and is one of the simplest forms of cultured dairy to make at home.
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  • Pickled Sanditas

     Posted by Andrea

     

    Sanditas? What the heck are those?

    A tiny variety of cucumber, also known as Mexican Sour Gherkins and cucamelon, this is a vegetable you are likely to fall head over heels for! Smaller than a quarter and resembling a miniature watermelon, the sandita is a prolific producer that takes up very little space in the garden. I have been growing sanditas for three years, and I'm so completely smitten by them I've decided they will be a part of my garden every year from now on. Read more about this unique heirloom cucumber here: Hooked on This Heirloom: Sanditas.

    Pickled Sanditas | Fermentools.com

    Because it's a cucumber, I think it goes without saying that a sandita MUST be pickled. You can certainly make pickled sanditas using a vinegar brine, but I'd recommend fermenting them for the added health benefits of probiotics. Fermenting cucumbers produces a pickle like no other...the exquisite sour bite is addicting. I like the way these tiny pickles look next to small mounds of black olives and cubed cheese on a veggie tray. No one is expecting to see baby pickles that resemble mini watermelons...what a fun way to introduce the family to fermented foods at your next family gathering.

    If you have fermented vegetables before, you know that a salt brine is used, and that different measurements of salt produce varying percentages of brine. While many veggies do fine with the 'sweet spot' of a 2-3 percent brine, cucumbers need a bit more because they are more prone to mold. The brine ratio I used for this recipe is about 6%.  Though you could experiment with the spices, I went with the standard dill, garlic, and pepper in this recipe to create a tingling-sour, dill pickle flavor.

    Pickled Sanditas

    • wide-mouth quart jar

    • 2 cups filtered water

    • 1 ½ T. mineral-rich salt

    • sanditas (enough to almost fill a quart jar—take a jar out to the garden with you and fill it!)

    • 1 clove garlic, peeled

    • ½ t. peppercorns

    • 1 sprig fresh dill

    1. Before you begin fermenting, wash your hands and make sure all your tools, utensils, and equipment are clean. This is the first important step in helping to prevent mold.

    2. In a glass bowl or measuring cup, combine the 2 cups of water and 1 ½ T. salt until completely dissolved, then set aside.

    3. Place dill, garlic, and peppercorns in the bottom of the quart jar. Top with the sanditas. As you place the sanditas in the jar, take your thumbnail or fingernail and gently scrape the blossom end to make sure there is no tiny bump of the blossom left on it. This will help keep the pickles crisp. Fill the jar with sanditas until there is an inch of headroom left at the top.

    4. Pour the saltwater brine over everything in the jar, poking and stirring gently a few times with the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick to remove air bubbles. Top with a weight, and then a lid and airlock.

    5. Allow to ferment in a dark place, avoiding extreme temperatures, at least a week—then start tasting. Mine were perfect after 2 weeks, but you can taste until they are perfect to you. Once they've reached the flavor you love, store the pickled sanditas in the fridge (removing airlock first) for 6 months to a year. Enjoy your tiny, cute pickles!

    Andrea gardens, forages, cooks and ferments on a little plot in the city. She loves spreading the word about age-old practices and making them new, exciting and feasible for everyone. Find her at LittleBigHarvest.com.
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  • Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

     

    Posted by Chris

     

    Most bread and butter pickle recipes are high in both sugar and vinegar.  Bread and Butter pickles are sweet and sour at the same time.  That’s what makes them the perfect accompaniment to potato salad, burgers, and sandwiches.

    This fermented bread and butter pickle recipe uses no sugar and no vinegar.  It has healthy, gut healing probiotics.  The sweet-sour flavor comes from natural fermentation.

    bread_and_butter_pickle_recipe_best

    Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

    (Yield: 1 quart)

    Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs. of pickling cucumbers

    • 2 onions, thinly sliced

    • 2 tbsp. whole mustard seed

    • 2 inch piece of fresh turmeric root

    • 1 tbsp. Himalayan salt

    • 2 cups of boiled and cooled water

    • 2 tbsp. active culture from a successful batch of fermented vegetables (optional)

    Equipment:

    • 1 Fermentools kit

    • 1 quart wide-mouth Mason jar

    • Wide-mouth ring for the jar

    Method:

    Wash the pickling cucumbers, and rub off any sharp spines.  Remove the stem end and the blossom end and discard.  Thinly slice the cucumbers into uniform slices, about 1/8th of an inch thick.

    Peel and slice the onions into uniform, thin slices

    Peel the turmeric root with the edge of a spoon.  Slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.

    Wash and sanitize the jar, and the parts of the Fermentools kit.

    Place the mustard seed in the bottom of the jar.  Place alternating layers of sliced cucumbers, turmeric, and sliced onions.  Fill to the top of the shoulders of the jar.  Shake the jar gently to redistribute the contents uniformly.

    Add two tablespoons of active culture to the jar.  If you don’t have a successful batch of fermented vegetables yet, see this post to find other ways to get the right lacto-bacteria for a successful batch.

    Mix two cups of cooled water and the salt together and stir until the salt is dissolved.  Pour the brine over the contents of the jar.

    Using a clean knife, dislodge any air pockets in the jar and top up with more water, if necessary.

    Place the glass weight of the Fermentools kit into the neck of the jar.  Gently push down on the glass weight until all the cucumbers and onions are below the surface of the liquid and there is liquid over the glass weight in the neck of the jar.  Leave a one-inch head space in the neck of the jar.

    Place the Fermentools lid, the gasket, and the fermentation lock in place on the jar.  Place the jar on a plate to catch any overflow, just in case.

    Keep the jar out of direct sunlight in a warm place.  After 24 to 48 hours the jar will begin to bubble.  The bubbles will begin as fine bubbles and then change to coarse bubbles.  The contents of the jar will rise under the pressure of the active fermentation.  After five to seven days the fermentation will stop.  The contents of the jar will sink.  The pickles are finished fermenting.

    At this point, remove the Fermentools kit from the jar and replace the lid with a plastic lid, to prevent corrosion.   Refrigerate the pickles.   You can eat them now or allow the flavors to meld over a month or two.

    This Bread and Butter Pickle recipe will keep for up to a year in the fridge, without canning, and retain its crunchiness and flavour.  But they don’t last that long in my house.

    Serve them with hamburgers, potato salad, or sandwiches.

    Enjoy!

    Fermentation and traditional ways of food preservation fascinate Chris. She has been experimenting with microbes since she bought her first San Francisco Sourdough kit in the 1970s. Her repertoire of ferments expanded to include fruit wine and herbal wine making, kombucha and kefir, cheese and dairy ferments, sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as lesser known fermented fruits and vegetables. To feed her fascination, Chris recently took a university course on the Human Microbiome, and gained a new appreciation for the role that lactobacillus plays in human wellness. Chris shares her knowledge with her readers on her blog at JoybileeFarm.com.
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  • Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe

    Hot sauce, like Tabasco sauce, Sriracha sauce, and hot chili sauce get their heat from hot chili peppers and their flavors from the fruitiness of the peppers, from garlic, and from sugar.  This hot sauce recipe is basic without the added ingredients you’d find in a store-bought hot sauce.
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  • Fresh Fruit Kefir Ice Pops

     

    Posted by Kristi

    Summer is over. The kids are back in school. My how the time flies! Let’s send summer away with love and ice pops. Making probiotic ice pops is fun and easy. The kids can even help. They are sure to love these awesome cold treats. The flavor combinations you can make at home are almost endless, and yet so simple to create.

    Introduce fermented foods to your children with style

    fresh_fruit_kefir_ice_pops

    If you are looking for a way to introduce fermented foods to your kids, this is a great place to start. The flavor is amazing, and they are a quick snack, mom (and kids) can make in less than five minutes. There is no added sugar, only the sugar content from fresh fruit, and the water kefir. The kids don’t need a whole bunch of sugar anyway right?

    Making these ice pops starts with cutting up the desired fruit and placing it in the ice pop mold. The kind of fruit you can use is endless. The best ones to try are berries, pineapple, banana, kiwi, mango, and melons.

    Bananas are definitely a fan favorite. Berries are a sure second favorite. You can mix and match different fruits to find what your family’s favorite will be. We love strawberry banana water kefir ice pops. Pineapple is a great choice; the texture of frozen pineapple is just wonderful, and full of flavor. We also made kiwi, mango, pineapple, and watermelon. They were fantastic! The taste of the frozen water kefir is exploding with fruit flavor.

    Directions:

    • Fruits of your choice – the amount will depend on the size of your mold. Just fill up your mold ¾ of the way to the top.

    • Next, add water kefir to the fill line on your molds.

    • Place the tops onto the molds and pop them into the freezer. Freeze them for about four to five hours and serve!

    You could add half water kefir and half of your favorite juice. Orange juice, and grape juice are some of our favorites to add. It just gives it a little extra kick. You could try pineapple, apple, cranberry, or a mixture of juices. Try it out and see what is your favorite! My son said we should add yogurt. I think that is a great idea! We will have to give that a try next time.

    Before we send summer off let’s have one last run through the sprinkler, one last ice pop, maybe take a swim in the pool, see you next year summer, we sure will miss you!

    Kristi is the blog owner of HomesteadWishing.com She is a wife and mother of three wonderful boys. She loves to write about food, children & parenting, tips and tricks, and survival information.
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  • Fermented Cherry Tomato "Bombs"

     

    Posted by Andrea

    The end of summer is approaching, and for many gardeners that means the cherry tomatoes are coming in by the dozens, or even hundreds. It can be really difficult to use all of them up! My favorite way to eat them will always be plain, straight from the vine, as I stand with the afternoon sunlight in my hair—but even after I gorge myself with cherry tomatoes, there are usually too many left. Every gardener I know loves to grow cherry tomatoes; they are adorable, tasty, and perfect for snacking. But let's face it; if you grow cherry tomatoes, you will end up with a lot of extra. Fermenting them is a perfect way to prolong their edibility, add tremendous flavor, and kick up their nutritious value with probiotics.

    fermentools_cherry_bombs_2

    Another way to use a bunch of cherry tomatoes? Use them in Glut Sauce; a full-proof, delicious, and super-easy way to preserve any kind of tomato!

    Now, I know what you are thinking; ferment tomatoes? It sounds impossible, and maybe kind of gross. Tomatoes are soft and vulnerable. Won't they just turn into mush? Surprisingly, no! With a short ferment, cherry tomatoes retain their 'pop'. They also gain a delicious fizz, much like fermented salsa. You will be pleasantly surprised by how well tomatoes hold up to fermentation.

    I love the name 'cherry bombs' when it comes to this fermented snack. They burst in your mouth like tiny bombs of flavor. They are fizzy, tangy, and so delicious! The basil and garlic—two ingredients that were made to go with tomatoes—add mouth-watering flavor.

    This is a very short ferment that will need to go into the fridge after just a few days. If the bombs get softer than you'd like, don't fret! Keep them in the fridge for a few months and use them when you make salsa, or crush a few up and add them to your tomato sauce-pasta dish right before you eat it (cooking them will destroy the probiotics). Mine never last long enough to go anywhere but straight into my mouth.

    I cannot emphasize enough: these cherry bombs are absolutely scrumptious eaten as a snack right from the jar. Try a quart of them today—you'll be in love!

    Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomato “Bombs”

    Gather the following:

    •  1 clean wide-mouthed quart jar

    • 1 pound cherry tomatoes

    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

    • 1 stem of fresh basil

    • 5-6 peppercorns

    • 1 Tablespoon sea salt

    • 2 cups filtered water or water without chlorine

     Follow these steps:

    1. Start with clean hands, jars and tools to help prevent mold.

    2. Place the basil and garlic in the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar with the cherry tomatoes. This may take a bit less than a pound, as you'll want to leave an inch of headroom.

    3. In a separate bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine the salt and water until the salt is completely dissolved. Pour this brine over the tomatoes. Leave a little over an inch of headroom—you may have a bit of brine leftover.

    4. Place a weight over the tomatoes, then top the quart jar with a lid and airlock. If you don't have weights or airlocks, loosely cover the jar with a lid and shake the jar several times a day. I find it much easier if I use tools; it takes away my trepidation and makes fermenting seem fool-proof!

    5. This is a short ferment. Let the tomatoes ferment for three to five days. When the bombs are fizzy and taste just how you want them, remove the airlock and store the quart jar, covered, in the fridge. I prefer to leave the weight in cherry tomato ferments; they are still slowly fermenting even refrigerated, and the tomatoes tend to float. Leaving the weight in will keep the tomatoes under the brine, helping to prevent mold .

    6. Enjoy for up to three months. If they get too soft in the fridge after several months, you can chop and add them to salsas, soups, and pasta dishes. I really doubt your cherry bombs will last that long, because you will find yourself eating some every day!

     Andrea gardens, forages, cooks and ferments on a little plot in the city. She loves spreading the word about age-old practices and making them new, exciting and feasible for everyone. Find her at LittleBigHarvest.com.
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  • Healthy, Fermented Lunchbox Treats

    Fermentools is serious about feeding families healthy food. Whether at home or away, you have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones have something they like, and is good for them, at every meal—especially when at school. Take a look at these ideas and see if your kids won't just love them.
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  • Kosher Dill Pickles

    When I was in high school, I frequently went home with a friend on the bus. When we arrived at her house, we would devour a jar of her mom's homemade kosher dills, a chunk of cheddar cheese and the box of crackers while watching soap operas. Her pickles were so garlicky and so hot, we called them wicked. While I can't say that these are wicked, I'm sure they will help you to get your pucker on.
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The information on this website is not intended to replace professional medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. Health claims on this website do not warranty, guarantee, or predict the outcome for others. Fermentools strongly recommends readers consult a trusted healthcare professional for any medical condition. All information and links to other resources are posted in good faith. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of any information shared from other publications. Fermentools accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the use or misuse of the information contained on this website.