Cabbage is a fermentation superstar, and in this chapter, you’ll see how it can be used in kraut, kimchi, and other ferments that pay homage to this humble yet mighty cruciferous queen. You’ll notice that the process for many of these recipes is quite similar: salt, shred, submerge, wait, and then taste. Once you’ve got the hang of it, feel free to add your own flavor variations to any of the recipes here. Generally speaking, spices and seasonings can be changed without affecting the overall success of the fermentation process.
Brining is the method most commonly associated with the classic cucumber pickle. As you’ll see in this chapter, the brining method can be used with most any vegetable. In these recipes, vegetables are cut into large pieces or even kept whole. Since we’re not shredding them, we don’t get the same liquid release from the cell walls as we do when shredding cabbage for sauerkraut or kimchi. For that reason, a saltwater solution, or brine, is necessary to keep them in an anaerobic environment while they ferment.
You can go about making fermented sauces in two different ways: Brine your peppers whole or in large pieces, similar to the recipes in chapter 5, or grind them up into a mash before fermenting. Either way, a food processor or blender is essential for most of the recipes in this chapter. If you’re on a tight budget, an immersion (stick) blender is a great option that won’t take up counter space and is simple to clean. Gloves are another must for these spicy sauces—don’t learn that the hard way!
Harness the power of fermentation with this fun (and funky) recipe book
Fermentation is a magical process. It acts as a natural preservative, enhances flavors, and turns already healthy veggies into probiotic-rich superfoods. Though undertaking this transformative process in your own home may seem intimidating, Essential Vegetable Fermentation has all the practical information you need to make fermentation fun, easy, and incredibly rewarding.
With a simple guide to preparing your kitchen and mastering your first ferment, you’ll have your glass jars bubbling away in no time. Learn to ferment everything from whole vegetables, krauts, and kimchis, to hot sauces, chutneys, relishes, and more. Clear, easy-to-follow instructions and insightful tips practically guarantee fermentation success. And because the recipes draw on flavors from around the world, you’ll always have something new and interesting to try.
Essential Vegetable Fermentation includes:
Master the probiotic process today and enjoy all the vegetables you can ferment!
“This is one of the best fermentation books in terms of providing just enough background and basic science to set the stage, and specific recipes so you can jump right in. Some other fermentation books are just plain wrong―this one gets the techniques right. I love the troubleshooting pages because they cover the common issues you'll run into when you're first starting, like hollow pickles, surface mold, etc.―things that discourage beginners. There are also lots of recipes for experienced fermenters to give you new ideas when you're stuck in a rut.” ―Matthew Hately, Advisory Board Member, The Fermentation Association
“Kelly has been the queen of the pickling scene in San Francisco for as long as I can remember. She is at her heart a teacher and this book shows that passion. Whether you grew up with a root cellar full of sauerkraut, or your first and only pickle came from Claussen, this book will throw you headfirst into a lifetime addiction to the pleasures of fermentation.” ―Iso Rabins, Cofounder of Forage Kitchen (foragekitchen.com)
“Did you know fermentation is about more than just kraut and pickles? Perhaps more importantly, did you know that anyone can master the art of fermentation and begin whipping up dynamic, flavorful ferments at home? From Curry Cauliflower to my personal favorite―Spicy Onion-Mango Chutney―with Essential Vegetable Fermentation, it’s easy to add healthy, probiotic-rich fermented foods into your life!” ―Liz Wolfe, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and bestselling author of Eat the Yolks
“A must-have fermenting book to add to your collection. McVicker shows that she is a true educator by describing fermentation thoroughly and thoughtfully to the curious at heart. Her methods are well-explained, science-based, and time-honored, offering guidance on the absolute best ways to ferment. Fermentation veterans will enjoy fresh new takes on well-loved recipes for sauces, condiments, and side dishes. Don't miss the troubleshooting sections, especially for dill pickles. Your mouth will be watering all along the way!” ―Nicole Easterday, founder of FARMCurious, farmcurious.com
Kelly McVicker is an educator, pickle maker, entrepreneur, and certified Master Food Preserver. As founder of McVicker Pickles, her popular workshops on fermentation, home canning, and other food preservation techniques have helped people discover the joys of preserving their own food safely and deliciously. Kelly lives in San Francisco, along with an abundance of pickled things she expects will come in handy during the next earthquake.