Archives for posts with tag: Lactic acid

I made a lot of lactic acid pickles this week so that I have more to sell at the autumn markets.

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Cucumbers, sauerkraut, kimchi and carrots.

The boys were home today and eager to work, so we decided to make some lactic acid fermented carrots. The last batch was finished off at last nights dinner. We fetched about 8 kilos of carrots from the root cellar. They were in very good condition and had surprisingly little damage from carrot fly larvae.

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The ingredients:
– carrots
– garlic
– mustard seeds
– caraway seeds
– seasalt
– canning jars

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Make the pickles:
– clean and shred carrots
– weigh up carrots in 1 kilo portions
– to each kilo mix in 15 grams seasalt
– add several garlic cloves
– add a pinch of caraway seeds
– a pinch of mustard seeds
– mix all together
– press into canning jars
– close and seal jars
– label them

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Now we place the jars in a warm corner of the kitchen (18 – 22 degrees centigrade), so that the lactic acid bacteria can begin to grow vigorously for about 10 days. They are then moved to the cool food storage cellar, and after about 6 weeks the carrots have fermented sufficiently and are ready to eat.

We’ll eat quite a lot of these pickled carrots, but most will be taken to the farmers market for selling.

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Time to make sauerkraut. The summer cabbages I picked the other day started looking kind of ratty. So an evening sauerkraut session was in order.

Here’s what I use:
Cabbage
Salt
Caraway seeds
Juniper berries

Cabbage shredder
Scale
Stamper
Preserving jars
Etc

Now to the work:
– clean cabbages
– shred them
– weigh up one kilo
– mix in 15 grams seasalt (1.5%)
– put in crock and pound/press with stamper
– continue adding cabbage/salt mixture and stamping till all is softened
– mix in herbs and spices
– put in canning jars
– seal and label
– place in room temperature for 5 days
– then place in cool room
– ripe to eat after about 5 weeks

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Shredding

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Stamping

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Mixing salt

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Sealed for fermentation

This is a natural fermentation by lactic acid producing bacteria. Sauerkraut is traditional to eastern europe and asia and the national dish of Germany.

The most popular spice used is caraway seeds. We often make sauerkraut with the addition of only juniper berries, but many jars get different spicings. This batch has a couple of jars with caraway and garlic, and one jar is an experiment in kimchi making, where I mix the basic cabbage salt mash with shredded carrots, white radish, ginger, garlic, and red pepper. Other vegetables, herbs and spices can be added as well.

There are an infinite amount of variations to this recipe.

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Before and after pickling. This kind of cucumber is small and bitter. After pickling they become slightly salty with a delicious dill garlic flavor. And they keep for months.

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This what you need for pickling:
Cucumbers
Garlic cloves
Dill crowns
Mustard seed
Salt
Water
Pickling jars

How to do it:
– clean cukes, garlic and dill
– prick small holes in cukes with a knife
or fork
– put garlic, dill and mustard seed in jar
– stuff cucumbers in jar as tight as
possible
– mix salt into water figuring 30 grams
salt per liter water
– put salt water into jar covering
everything
– put on lid sealing it to keep air out
– label jar with date and type
– put in room temperature for two weeks
– then put in cool place for storage (like cellar)
– ready to eat after about 5 weeks

The temperatures are rather important. Here in Sweden the ambient temperatures are low. The first period in room temperature is around 20 C, but anything between 15 and 25 C will do it seems. I keep them in the kitchen in a corner on the floor covered with a towel to keep light out. Light kills bacteria. Then they go down to the basement food storage room where it’s dark and the temperatures vary between 10 to 15 C from winter to summer.

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Lactic acid pickling is an ancient method of food preservation and flavor enhancement. The salt concentration becomes about 1.5% which keeps microorganisms from growing but allows the lactic acid producing bacteria to thrive. The lactic acid acts as a preservative as well as adding a slightly sour punch to the flavor.

Where do these bacteria come from? They are all around us in the environment. In the air, in our food, on our skin etc. We wash the cucumbers to get the dirt off but even then there are enough bacteria left to propagate without competition because of the salty water. The other ingrediants also add to the bacteria count. The salt and the lactic acid preserve the cucumbers. I have had good tasting pickles over two years old.

Perhaps the best thing about lactic acid pickling is the flavor changes that come about. Now for a pickle sandwich.

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Harvesting garlic

Garlic is a staple in our diet. This garlic will be dried and saved in our basement for winter cooking. We still have some from last year that is as good as ever.

We also put a few garlic cloves in each of our cucumber dill pickle jars for added flavor. The pickled garlic is also very tasty and undoubtedly good for you too.

In the fall we will plant about one hundred of the cloves in the garden for next years crop. They survive our harsh winter easily.

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