Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Since I haven't explained this DIY before, this is the rig I use to ferment vegetables. Now on display for the very first time.

  1. EasiYo Yogurt Maker: cheap and readily available flasks from Op shops(cheap) and supermarkets. I reckon they make great crocks.
  2. Pack in your prepped vegetables and ram them down to encourage sweating.
  3. Covered the top of your veg with a blanket of edible leaves. Choko leaves work well.
  4. Add the stopper and push down on the covered veg.
  5. Add water to a ziplock bag and seal. Place bag on top of the stopper to act as a weight.
  6. Place a lid on the flask and set aside for scheduled ferment period.
  7. If the ferment produces a lot of liquid you may want to place a tray underneath the flask to capture the liquid over flow. 

I have 10 EasiYo flasks and they are kept busy. 

The 'model' for the session was outback harvested turnips, fermented with salt and black pepper.

Turnip Kraut is called Sauerrüben.

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Comment by Dave Riley on September 4, 2016 at 14:25

Here's a list of tannin containing plants: LINK

...and a list of herbs LINK with tannins on board. But generally the tannin is in the leaf or the bark (bark as in cinnamon).

Comment by Dave Riley on September 4, 2016 at 14:14

No promises...'crispy' is a state of mind. 

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on September 4, 2016 at 13:30

Banana Leaves - thanks Dave, I have these.  So now when I want a crispy mix I can go shopping in the garden.

Comment by Dave Riley on September 4, 2016 at 13:26

Tannin is  definitely not necessary for fermenting unless you want to foster some crispness as you get with pickling. You want crisp then you pickle.

The standard  tannin options are tea leaves(I guess camelias would do too?), oak leaves and other high tannin containing plants. 

Banana leaves for instance. I gather.

I'd stick with tea as you are handling a knowable ingredient and you can get long strands of dried leaf. But they won't serve as a primary follower. If using banana leaves just cut a shape -- circle/square -- to fit your crock.

But really fermenting is something other than crispy...and , as I say, the blanketing follower isn't absolutely necessary. 

If making daikon/carrot you could just lay down several layers of daikon leaves . Just don't add anything poisonous or suspect. Cabbage leaves are, of course, kosher.

The Do Chua you get in a Vietnamese restaurant isn't usually lacto-fermented. It is 'pickled' in water and vinegar (usually 1:1)and salt and sugar -- but may be fermented for up to 3 days -- and will not last long before going off.This is why the trick is to invert your pickled jar every day  or so in the fridge so that the veges are washed over and re-drowned.  That's the Vietnamese trick.

It won't have much of a microbial existence. -- unlike an active ferment. But then you can make Do Chua and let it marinate in under 30 minutes ready for a meal.

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on September 4, 2016 at 12:39

No Christa, don't have horseradish.  Just making up a new batch of the daikon / carrot so not sure if it would make any difference if I don't have anything for the tannin, but I do want to do some others and the crunch would be nice.  Just need to know what other leaves can be used - even if I have to go and buy some.

Comment by Christa on September 4, 2016 at 12:30

Do you have any horseradish leaves Cheryl.

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on September 4, 2016 at 10:55

Do ferments need the tannin, if so, what can be used instead of grape leaves?

Comment by Phil on September 4, 2016 at 9:41

Looks like I now have a use for my old yogurt maker. Good idea.

Comment by Dave Riley on September 4, 2016 at 9:22

I don't use grape leaves because I haven't got a vine...but the grape leaves are generally used not as 'followers' but as a source of tannin to make a crispy ferment.So there's that side effect.

You can use anything as a follower even plastic sheet. In the setup they may not be necessary but I find them conducive to a better submersion.

I reckon that the leaf that works best is one that will hold itself together but wilts easily. Size matters of course but with the squash family there is less chance of transmission of feral flavours.

Also the key thing to comprehend is that the fluid will rise up as it is generated and all you want is that fluid -- that brine --  to high tide it without vegetables on board.

So everything you place on top of the ferment supposedly works like your own hand holding down your creation for a week or so. That's the simple DIY of fermenting: drowning  veg in brine.

Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on September 4, 2016 at 8:42

Many thanks for the pictures Dave, I found an EasiYo flask in the asthma foundation shop and brought it home then realized I didn't know how you used it to do the ferments, now I know.  Are the choko leaves used instead of the grape leaves (I don't have access to grape leaves)?

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