In this post I talked about Steve’s garden. Now let’s talk about what to do with all those vegetables! Preserving (or the less savory word, fermenting, or pickling, these words have a tendency to be used interchangeably.) This jar was made with cabbage.
- Wash and sterilize jars (1/2 gallon mason jars in this instance) sold here at Walmart.com
- Place your spices in the jar, on the bottom (pickling spice, black pepper kernels, mustard seed red chili flakes, dill, garlic to taste)
- Throw your cabbage in, chopped to your liking, Steve likes them “rustic cut”. Together with the cabbage, include a sprig of dill, whole crushed garlic cloves, and chopped chili peppers, which will lend their flavor to the cabbage. You can add what you like, or not include what you don’t. Steve likes spicy, but if you don’t you can leave the chili peppers out. Experiment with what suits your taste.
- Fill shredded cabbage to about 1 inch below the neck of the jar. In the picture above Steve has saved a slice of the outer leaves of cabbage to be used a little later.
- Mix your brine. Brine consists of 1 tablespoon of pickling salt for every 2 cups of water. Important points to remember, no salt with iodine, and no tap water, you have to use purified or distilled water, because tap water contains chlorine, which kills the bacteria in our drinking water, but in preserving you want to encourage the (good) bacteria.
- Pour brine into jar, to about the neck of the jar. Use a wooden spoon handle to poke through the mixture to make sure there are no air bubbles in the jar.
- Place your cabbage leaf on top of your cabbage and brine mixture. This helps to hold the shredded cabbage down, because you want everything in the brine, to make sure it pickles properly, and does not get moldy.
- A pimento jar will fit neatly inside you canning jar, on the top of everything, you are using it as a sort of weight to also ensure everything stays down. Take the remainder of your brine and pour it into the pimento jar to sink it into the brine. Place your plastic lid on. You can get them on Ebay here. You will need this type of lid with the hole in it.
- Place your airlock on the jar lid (in the hole) You can also buy them on Ebay here. The fermentation process will cause a buildup of gas in the jar. You need these items to release the gasses, and prevent oxygen from getting into the jar, which could cause mold to grow. Fill the airlocks with water to act as a one way valve.
- Here is a picture of the completed product. Store in a cool dark place 70-75 degrees for about a minimum of 10 days. We place ours on the countertop with towels over them. Try the cabbage to see if it is pickled to your liking, if not, you can store it longer. When you are ready to eat, you can remove the airlock and put your normal lid back on and store in the refrigerator. Don’t tighten the lid too tight, as the fermentation process continues at a slower rate in the refrigerator.
A variety of things can be fermented. Use your garden and your imagination 🙂 What have you fermented? Let me know what you have successfully (or unsuccessfully) experimented with in the comments below.