I've been reading up a bit on fermented & cultured foods. One of the things that I find fascinating is that these foods have been part of just about every traditional diet. Saurkraut, kimchi, tzatziki, and kvass were all traditionally prepared with active cultures.
Americans today eat very little live food.
One of the other commonalities I've found is that many of these foods are made in almost the same way:
- Cut/shred a vegetable
- add salt
- add whey or more salt
- add some ingredients for flavor (e.g., garlic, herbs)
Mix & press down into a jar. Add salt water ("brine") until it covers the veggies. Put a weighted cover on to hold the veggies under the brine. Wait 2 days - 1 week.
I tried this once to make ginger carrots. We had 2 bags of baby carrots, and I grated them all. Bad idea. Next time I'll use full-size carrots! I let if ferment for a week, but decided I wasn't ready for the unusual taste & threw it in the compost.
Next I tried kefirkraut. It's saurkraut made with kefir grains to get it going. I let it ferment for a week, tasted a tiny bit, and threw it out.
30 years of a diet without fermented foods. It's going to take me some time to get used to it.
Next attempt was salsa, with a recipie from Nourishing Traditions. Tomatoes, onions (didn't have any, so I skipped it), chilis (didn't have any, so I used a yellow bell pepper), garlic, oregano, salt, whey, water. Fermented for 2 days. Tasted it, and it was delicious. Let it sit an extra 1/2 day to get a bit more pungent. Moved to the fridge.
I used a spoonful or two with every dinner until it was gone.
Success at last.