This is the time of year that lactofermented vegetables really taste good to us. The only fresh local veggies are stored, and not too many different kinds: potatoes, onions, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, cabbage, garlic, beets, radishes. But we can have fresh cucumbers, green beans, zucchini, salsa, and many more from our lactofermentation jars. They're great on salads or as a side dish. And they have a lot of health benefits as probiotics.
I have posted an introductory paper I wrote on lactofermentation. Check under Blogs and Websites on the right side.
Lsctofermentation does not require high technology. I use half-gallon glass jars, but you could also use crocks. You need high quality veggies, herbs and spices, and salt. They keep for months, up to a year. If you didn't have refrigeration, they would keep well in a non-freezing but cool place, which should be readily available in temperate climates. Lactoferments go back thousands of years in human cultures.
Today I want to celebrate what we've been eating.
1. Lacto Cucumbers. Think pickle barrel dills. The juice is wonderful too, in salad dressings, deviled eggs, and anywhere you want a flavorful tartness.
2. Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is great raw as a side dish, or baked as a bed under local pork sausage.
3. Dilly Beans. This year I used wax beans, which work just as well as green. They have a lovely gold color. We're on our second half-gallon.
4. Kim Chee. Yes, you can make your own, at a low cost relative to the very pricey bubbly jars you buy at the natural groceries. I just opened the first of our two jars. Wow! The ginger, garlic and chilis add a real wake-up note to bland winter meals.
5. Tomato salsa. It's great to have a real fresh salsa in the middle of the winter from August tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro.
That's what I made this year. Additionally, I get pint jars in my winter CSA shares. This year we got:
6. Pickled beets. Sweet and sour. Nice in chopped winter salads, or as a side dish.
7. Zucchini, onion, and Napa. Nice and tart.
8. Another Kim Chee: a little different flavor, also delicious.
9. Carrot and daikon, sliced.
10. Turnip, onion and chilis. Another Asian-flavored pickle.
That should pep up a tired palate.
You can still make some lactoferments if you have storage roots in good condition. Don't try to use dried-out, shriveled or moldy veggies; they should go into the compost.
And plan to put up some of summer's bounty of fresh beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and other delights, when the season comes.