Fermented vegetables are perfect on a mezze platter or added to a salad, whole or thinly sliced and tossed through. This recipe from Carla Oates (a.k.a. The Beauty Chef) will work for any root vegetable, so if you have a favourite one or two you can alter quantities accordingly for your next batch.
Sweet and Sour Fermented Vegetables
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 cauliflower, washed and cut into sticks
8 radishes, washed and halved, quartered or sliced (depending on size)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 bay leaves
2 cups (500 ml) filtered water
1/2 cup (125 ml) apple cider vinegar (unpasteurised)
2 tablespoons himalayan salt
1 tablespoon raw honey
Outer cabbage leaf
Dry roast the mustard seeds in a small frying pan over low heat for 30 seconds, or until they begin to pop.
Tightly pack the vegetables, mustard seeds, and bay leaves into a sterilised 1.5-litre glass jar or specialised fermentation jar with an airlock lid.
Combine the water, vinegar, salt and honey in a jug and stir to dissolve the salt. Pour the liquid over the vegetables, to just cover. Pour in a little filtered water to cover completely, if required.
Firmly press down the vegetables to submerge in liquid. Cover the vegetables with a piece of cabbage leaf. If using an ordinary jar, weigh down with a specialised ceramic weight or smaller jar filled with water. Ensure there is a 5cm gap between the vegetables and the top of the jar to allow for extra liquid released during the fermentation process.
Set the jar on a large plate to catch any over overflow. Cover the jar with a double layer of muslin cloth and secure with a rubber band. If using a mason, preserving or specialised fermenting jar, secure the lid.
Let stand at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated place for 5-7 days, or until the mixture becomes pleasantly tangy. During this time, if using a jar covered with a muslin cloth, check daily to ensure the vegetables are completely submerged in brine, to prevent mould from forming. Press down with a wooden spoon if necessary.
If using a mason or preserving jar, open ever so slightly every day to release gasses (a process known as burping). This will help prevent pressure build-up which could result in an explosion. Once fermented, seal with a lid. Fermented vegetables can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week or so to age before use, and up to 3 months.
You can store this pickle in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. The flavours will continue to develop over time. If you’ve got some fresh vine leaves on hand add one to your vegetables – the tannins released will help to achieve a crunchier outcome. Fermented garlic can discolour to a green/blue colour but it is still perfectly safe to eat. To help prevent this, ensure you use chlorine-free water and non-iodised salt.
Carla Oates AKA The Beauty Chef will be a key speaker at this year’s GoodnessMe Box Wholefood Markets. They will be taking place on the 8th and 9th November 2016 at The Grounds of Alexandria. Tickets are available to buy now for $35 here.