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|
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“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
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