Unlike modern cooking which is often precise, measuring baking time in minutes, and microwaving time in seconds, lacto-fermented foods are measured not by days, but instead, weeks, or even months and sometimes even years.
Sauerkraut should be aged, anywhere from 3 to 6-months – giving it enough time to synthesize Vitamin C, as well as neutralize a variety of “toxins” that form in the early stages.
Pepper mashes have long been compared to wine-making, where flavors and textures develop over long-periods of time – often several years.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why pickling cukes have been popular in almost every culture throughout the history of the world. They’re more of the “fast-food” – instant gratification of lacto-fermented foods, ready for snacking in only 3-4 days. While the other ferments are taking their time, pickles provide a tangy-treat, as well as beneficial nutrients and probiotics.
If you’re new to lacto-fermentation, it’s good to get into the habit of smelling, tasting. Cutting pickles open offers a unique inside-look at fermentation stages, something not easily seen in other foods.
The pickle-comparison photo compares “fresh pack” or “fresh pickles”, on the left – still in the early stages of fermentation – with fully brine-cured pickled cukes on the right.
They are very different in every possible way – taste, smell, texture and appearance. We’ve always made extra, “sacrificing” a few every week to learn about the various stages.
Now we make extra because we enjoy the flavor of the fresh-cured. In a way, they’re like the other short summer “crops” that are only available for a short period of time hroughout the summer – dandelion greens, rhubarb, English peas, raspberries, scape, and now the “fresh” pickle, a refreshing, cooling treat in the middle of the summer heat.
|by Kathleen in Tips | Permalink|
Did you know...
In colonial times, and later, on farms and in villages, homemakers expected to “put down” some pickles in stone crocks, and to “put up” some pickles and pickle relishes in glass jars.
—Put Down, Put Up
Thank you so much for teaching me everything I know about lactic-acid fermentation. Without your help and advice, I would have continued to make unhealthy, moldy, mason-jar "ferments". I appreciate everything you have done for me.
—Linda Cox - North Canton OH