Lacto Ferment Essentials

The lacto-fermented lifestyle offers so much variety that consumption is a brutal oppression of choices.But --aside from my scrumptious preserved lemons -- here's the top of the pops; much missed when the jars are empty.Cooking. Sandwiching. Drinking hot chocolate. Salading. Salsa-ing...Dears, where have you been all my life?Roll on the seasons!
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  • Wunderbar!

    I thought I'd eaten my way through all my turmeric fermented paste but then found and an even larger jar hiding at the back of the fridge. My efforts paid off ...and since the T-roots are coming down in price I can look forward to making up another batch soon.

  • Gotta share this work around:

    When you ferment sweet peppers you end up with a huge amount of fluid as the capsicum flesh is so succulent. That amount of juice also undermines the intensity of the end taste and can upset the microbiology. .

    Since I had a few kilograms of peppers I bought cheap, I decided to ferment Turkish style red pepper paste.

    So I chopped up the red peppers as fine as I my patience could tolerate, then blended them up. From this mix I separated off around 15-20% by volume and cooked down the rest slowly on the stove so that it became a thick paste.

    Traditionally, in Turkey the paste is left in the sun to evaporate.Here's a great workaround that inspired me: LINK.

    The separated portion I treated as a standard lacto ferment and added salt and some chili. I then put this aside.

    After cooking down the rest, I let it cool then combined the two mixes while adding more salt to generalize the salination for fermentation.

    Cooking peppers kills off the microorganisms -- esp lactobacillus et al  -- and sabotages ferment potential. But by using an uncooked mix as an inoculant  I hope to seed the now sterilized paste with all the elements that makes for a successful ferment.

    Here's hoping anyway.

    I tell you, having sweet peppers on hand all year is something to die for.

  • After a very intense period exploring  lacto fermenting possibilities I have adjusted my salting habits to focus on my favorite -- and essential -- ferments.

    The image covers my main dependencies -- chimichurri, turmeric and chili -- but not present is sweet pepper (as in capsicum) paste.

    All you have to do is wait on the seasons ...and the growth. Then start the fermentation clock.

    I have just run out of turmeric ferment from last season's market availability and harvest. I have another chili on the brew and I'm accumulating the sweet peppers to maketh the paste.

    I do use a lot of this stuff -- like in everything. Regrettably much of  these ferments are cooked (and the lacto bacillii destroyed) but that's the way I prefer to roll the tastebud lifestyle.

    Chili at table 'cause the fam are gutless in the capsaicum stakes and balk at it in dish situ.

    Just on 'heat' in hot fermented chili -- don't go thinking that the microbes can;t stand the fire:

    Not only is hot sauce delicious, fun to ferment, and have an intriguing historical past, it also has many health benefits. Hot sauce is full of probiotics, bacteria that is beneficial to our bodies. Studies show that hot peppers kill up to 75 percent of bacteria in our bodies. The most common bacteria in hot sauce, is lactobacillus. It is found in many fermented foods in addition to just hot sauce. Lactobacillus help break down food and absorb nutrients in our bodies. They also do a lot of killing of bad bacteria that we have in our guts that I mentioned a little bit ago. Hot sauce also has capsaicin in it. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that gives hot sauce its most well-known attribute: its spiciness. This spicy sensation causes a rush of endorphins that can work as a type of pain reliever. Doctors have been known to prescribe this to patients suffering from arthritis. Another helpful component of hot sauce is vitamin C. Vitamin C has been known to lower blood pressure. Doctors also have said that those who consume more vitamin C have a lower risk of heart disease. Carotene is another important substance found in hot sauce. Carotene breaks down into vitamin A through the digestion process, which is a kind of antioxidant.LINK.

    In general consumption  -- as in milk and smoothies, breakfast hits and such -- I now get my Curcumin hit from Golden Paste  (google it) which I make up using a high dose turmeric powder.

    But the sweeter and tastier fermented paste is keenly scooped into any cooking excuse.

    And tomatoes love turmeric!

    I find home made yogurt the most versatile microbiome hit. It goes with so many dishes as is. I thought of going down the Kombucha route but haven't got around  to it.

    However, one of my culinary complications is that the Middle Eastern food I love is rich in pickled rather than fermented foods. Indeed in Turkish cuisine pickles are an absolute essential.

    As I've mentioned before, in Turkey you get whole shops dedicated to selling pickles.

    Unfortunately pickled vegetables ( ie; vegetables preserved in vinegar and salt) do not offer the same health benefits as fermented veg.

    As in probiotic impact.

    The bottom line is the high sodium hit and the 'dead' flesh. The microbial offerings are mainly killed off in the juice.

    On the other hand, there is the vinegar quotient and the acidity which can coalesce into benefits down the hatch. Both aspects can greatly improve the meal's glycemic index (as does the acidity of sourdough bread).

  • I agree whole heartily about the use of the Cherry Tomatoes we have them growing by the hundreds(they were first a visitor to the garden and decided to stay). They really are sweeter with a little burst of flavour whether eaten from the hand or in cooking.

  • On that, I find that fermenting sweet peppers is the best way to 'store' them long term. Saves so much space! 'Tis a great tasting ferment -- just right for cooking and a handy addition to salsas.

    An absolute ingredient essential.

    I've not taken to the taste of fermented celery at all, but making a Caribbean style  'green sauce' --RECIPE LINK -- with celery (home grown Chinese/leaf Celery) and sweet peppers is a great lacto-fermented variation on the chimichurri spectrum.

    I prefer to Ziploc freeze tomatoes -- after chopping and squishing  -- or whole if cherry sized.

    The cherry sized toms -- like Tommy Toes -- go great if dropped into dishes towards the end so that they defrost and slowly collapse.Sweeter than their larger cousins, they make for a subtler and fresher tomato taste zing.

    I just combine the preserved and fermented ingredients to suit. freezing celery works too. And preserved lemons will give that citrus kick.

    Right there is my on-hand/everyday culinary palette.

    That and plenty of spring onions: my great gardening achievement.

    This year i am definitely self sufficient in spring onions.  Oh how I love love spring onions! I grow 'em as big as I can manage and use the lot in cooking. Can have a big impact on any gut issues family feedback suggests. Once you get your routine right, you can supply yourself daily with Spring Onions. I always harvest by slicing off the stems at the base to encourage a secondary growth. It doesn't always work, but I find that the older and thicker the onion the more chance is will regrow.And these delights grow all year  -- except it's getting a bit late to plant out some more unless you have a shaded option.

    For the salad junkies: I have plenty of chicories growing. A few varieties. It's only the curly endive that has run to seed so far. The leaves toughen up a tad in hot weather but in anyone's  boat -- at least mine -- chicory is salad greenery. They hang on in the dirt and don't get away from you.Chicory may be 'bitter' to the taste (I'd call it 'flavour') so you need to work on your vinaigrette -- but the bitterness tastes absolutely nothing like the gagging reflex you get from chewing on a lettuce that has gone to seed.

    And here's a surprise -- for me -- wild rocket. I much prefer it to the other stuff. Light. Filigreed. Easy to grow and powering away in hot weather.Great green to use as a bed. on the plate.

  • Just love my Ferments, thanks for sharing Dave.

  • Basically what I've got in the garden plus salt. I keep varying the contents according to supply and taste adventure. I used to add sweet peppers/capsicums but I now ferment them separately.

    And seasons rule.So I'm always varying its makeup.

    What you do is follow a recipe with your preferred ingredients mix and salt them up to taste. More salt in pastes is allowed, compared to chunkier ferments.

    Any probs, just cover the finished ferment's surface in olive oil.

    Here's a basic recipe: LINK.

    Mix it with salsas. Use in marinades.Very versatile.

    When cooking in a pot (eg: soup or stew) I often add the chimichuri and the turmeric and the chilli. I find that better than an all-in-one combo. But the wee jar on the right is turmeric/chilli mix because I had leftovers of both  that I didn't want to a waste any delights.

  • probably been asked before or posted elsewhere but can you reveal your chimichuri recipe please 

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