|Purple Plum radishes with a few Cherry Belles and a turnip or two|
I had a good radish harvest this spring. My favorite are Purple Plum radishes. They are good flavored and good keepers. We ate a lot of them in salads and the rest have kept well in the fridge. But I had enough extras that I thought I'd like to try lacto-fermenting some.
My basic lacto-fermentation recipe is simple, although it's evolved somewhat. I use it with cabbage, turnips, and Jerusalem artichokes.
- Vegetable of choice, shredded, chopped, or sliced as preferred
- Non-chlorinated water (chlorine inhibits the good bacteria needed to ferment)
- sea salt
- whey, if available
Pound the prepared vegetable in a crock if you have one. Otherwise wide mouth canning jars will do. The idea is to pound out the natural juices, although I rarely seem to get a lot.
To each quart of water add a quarter cup of whey and one tablespoon of salt. If whey isn't available, increase the salt to two tablespoons. I like using whey because I usually have plenty and we like the flavor of the finished product better.
The contents must be submerged in liquid to prevent mold. I use a small plate weighed down with a half-pint canning jar partially filled with water. Cover with a cotton dishcloth to keep dust and bugs out. Let sit on a counter at room temperature for about three days.
Now, "room temperature" is a bit tricky. There is no strict definition for it, but apparently 72° F (22° C) is a good temperature for fermentation. My kitchen is considerably warmer than that, so I find fermentation is much quicker than the typical three to four days. I know when it's done when it stops bubbling and has a healthy sour smell. At that point it's moved into the fridge and ready to eat!
|The radish skins imparted a pretty color.|
How did it pass the taste test? With flying colors! However, there was a PROBLEM I've not experienced before. For several days the fridge smelled like, well, I'd describe it as overpoweringly cabbagey, but Dan said it smelled like something had died in there. I cleaned the fridge out twice, scrubbed it down, but it still smelled. I finally figured out it was those radishes that were causing the problem. I've never had cabbage or turnips smell like that! It wasn't spoiled and was tasty, but for some reason those lacto-fermented radishes had an unacceptable odor. I resolved that by putting them in a sealed tupperware container. Problem solved.
Would I recommend this recipe? Well, we enjoyed it tremendously but because of the odor I'll have to advise you to try it at your own olfactory risk!