All these recipes use a percentage of salt to allay the progression of pathogens in favour of the good bacteria. All measurements are by weight, so if 1.6% salt is required then 1000g of veg would need 16g of salt. But you should always taste the mix during preparation. 2% salt is the standard but I go down as far as 1.6% with sauerkraut and haven’t experienced much mould.
Fermentation vessels don’t need to be sterilised but I like to at least run everything through the dishwasher beforehand. Additionally I fill the jars/crocks with boiling water prior to use and/or heat in a low oven for 20 minutes or so. I set it to just greater than boiling so the liquid can evaporate but any plastic vessels will survive. I often repurpose regular 500ml jars but it’s nice to use a proper crock with an airlock.
Basic principles of fermented cabbage
There’s plenty of shop-bought kimchi in Brighton but very few in eco-friendly packaging. So why not make your own?
- 100% red cabbage (loose, Infinity Foods)
- 25% wild garlic (wild, The Downs)
- 1.6% salt
- 2% red chili (loose, Taj)
Chop everything and mix in the salt. Crush with your hands to get the juices flowing. Leave for ten minutes and repeat until there’s a good amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl. If the cabbage is particularly tough to get juice out of give it a bash with a pestle and leave it alone whilst the salt gets to work. Repeat a couple of times until you have adequate juice: you need enough liquid to submerge the cabbage in the fermenting vessel. You can buy weights to keep the loose bits submerged but if you’re using an airlock you needn’t bother.
Pack into a glass jar leaving about 20% expansion space and close the lid. Keep out of the sunlight, it should start to bubble by day two. Taste it after a week. Is it delicious? If so, eat on homemade bread with aioli.
The flavour profile evolves over the course of a few weeks. If you manage to not eat it all you’ll notice the taste drops off after a few weeks. If you really like the taste on a certain day move it to the fridge to slow it down.
- Two large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- Half as much onion as toms, 5mm dice
- Two garlic cloves, finely chopped
- A few radishes, finely sliced
- One red chilli, finely sliced
The denser the vegetable the finer it needs cutting.
Put everything in a mixing bowl on a scale, add 1.6% of the weight of the veg in salt. Mush it between your fingers until mixed and quite liquid. Taste and then add to a jar, almost to the brim, pop the lid on and leave in a dark cupboard for up to a week. You can put it in a fridge if you like but the acidity should stop anything untoward occurring.
An experiment to see how okra behaves in a ferment. The addition of okra does make it quite slippery so possibly not for everybody.
Soak your dried soy beans overnight. I half fill a sealable container and fill it up with water. Overnight the beans will have expanded to the top of the container. Steam the beans in a pressure cooker for half an hour and then inspect to see how tender they are. They should be almost falling apart so if they still have some bite add more water to the pressure cooker and stick them in for another half an hour.
Once you’re happy with your beans line a baking tray with greaseproof with the intention of folding it over into a sealed parcel. Add your beans whilst hot (the heat doesn’t matter in this case) and mix in either a pot of frozen natto or a few tablespoons from your previous batch. Mix well.
Fold the greaseproof over into a parcel and do you best to seal it. Leave the package in a warm place for 24 hours. I leave it beneath a downlighter in the kitchen. Pop into a clean jar and keep in the fridge.
- Barley Malt Vinegar
- Spirit Vinegar
- Tamarind Extract
- Flavourings (soy sauce, lemons, pickles and peppers)
- tomato juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- piri piri sauce
- beef consommé or bouillon
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- lemon juice
- celery salt
Blanche House recipe
- 50ml Vodka or Gin
- 25ml fresh lemon juice
- 7 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 generous dashes of Tabasco
- 5 turns of black pepper
- A large pinch of celery salt
- A teaspoon of creamed horseradish
- 150ml Tomato Juice
- Shake and strain into a slim Jim
- Tomatoes 685
- Shallots 126
- Tamari tsp
- Molasses tsp
- Bullet peppers 29
- Tomato vine
- Celery 92
- Garlic 6
- Olives 19
- Peppercorns 16 (corns, ground)
- Salt 15 (1.6% weight of veg)