WHAT IS FERMENTATION, WE FERMENT VEGETABLES!
Even experienced housewives do not know that one of the newfangled culinary trends of recent years - fermentation - is a natural fermentation. Its results have long been well known to us: this sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, pickled tomatoes and apples. Why is it not a new technology that has become a hit in the gastronomic world today?
MICROBIOTA IS A SEPARATE ORGAN
It has long been known that many culinary discoveries at the dawn of centuries were made by people completely by accident, including fermentation. When food stored for a long time spoiled, hunger forced a person to try it in this form. Unusual food often turned out to be more tasty and lasted longer in this form. It was again possible to get the product you liked only by repeating the conditions under which it was found.
In this way, fermented foods appeared in the culture of every nation. Today, aged French and Swiss cheeses and Italian balsamic vinegar are famous throughout the world. The Spaniards are deservedly proud of their jamon. Scandinavians bravely eat fragrant fish, the Japanese do not sit down at the table without fermented beans, and the Slavs enrich themselves with vitamins in winter with the help of a variety of pickles and fermentations.
But interest in fermented foods grew even more when scientists accumulated enough data about the animals that inhabit us. microorganisms (microbiota). It turned out that there were much more of them than expected - about 2 kg.
They live in absolute symbiosis with humans and are responsible for many important processes occurring in our body. And if you feed them incorrectly, allergies, obesity, depression, and heart disease may appear. And this is only a small part of the possible consequences. Some researchers consider the microbiota to be a separate organ.
WE SPOIL THE PRODUCT TO BECOME BETTER
Microbiologists call the fermentation process artificial digestion, and culinary specialists call it the controlled process of food spoilage. During fermentation, microorganisms secrete special substances - enzymes, which in a favorable environment (salt, sugar, oxygen, temperature) break down complex chemical compounds into simple ones, which is why the products change their value: they become richer in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial microflora grows.
Fermentation can be introduced or wild. The first involves adding third-party microorganisms to the product. This can be yeast (beer, wine), bacteria (creme fraiche, lacto yogurt), mold (depending on the type of mold that is involved in the fermentation process), a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (kefir, sourdough, kombucha).
Wild fermentation takes place with the participation of those microorganisms that live on the surface of the product, without the addition of third parties. There are yeast (wine, mead), bacterial acetic (vinegar) and lacto-fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchi).
THE SECRET OF FERMENTATION
The most suitable foods for home fermentation are vegetables and fruits. Fermentation and fermentation do not deprive them of nutrients, biologically active components, minerals and vitamins, most of which are simply destroyed during cooking and preservation. However, this process loves stability and is sensitive to environmental changes.
There are several important conditions for fermentation to progress in the desired direction.
Salt should be at least 2-3% of the weight of the fermented product, but not more than 8%. At this concentration, it does not interfere with the development of beneficial bacteria and blocks the development of some harmful ones, without overshadowing other tastes. But the main role of salt is to release liquid from the product and penetrate it. Thus, the fermented product releases juice, increasing fermentation.
Limiting air access to the fermented product. Lactic acid bacteria are facultative anaerobes, that is, they can develop both in the presence of air and without it. When fermenting without air, only lactic acid accumulates, while when exposed to air, unwanted byproducts are formed. This is achieved in three ways: by placing the product in a vacuum, in a container under a load, or in a liquid medium (brine).
Stable temperature of 1824°C, at which the development of lactic acid bacteria occurs quite intensively, but the activity of extraneous microflora is noticeably inhibited. However, there is a direct dependence on time: the higher the temperature, the faster the fermentation occurs. The result you get in a short time will be different from the result you get over a longer period of time.
It is important to stop fermentation at the right time. When fruits or vegetables are placed in a salty environment, their taste begins to change from sweet to sour. Under-exposed products may have an unexpressed taste, while over-exposed products will be similar: their characteristic flavor shades will be completely overshadowed by acid.
BASIC RECIPE FOR VEGETABLE FERMENTATION
Prepare brine using boiled or sanitary, but non-chlorinated water: about 1-1 tbsp per 2 liter. spoons of salt. If desired, you can add 1 teaspoon of sugar to speed up fermentation.
Transfer the vegetables to a clean (possibly sterilized) jar, alternating them with spices. Pour room temperature brine so that all vegetables are covered. Gently compact the contents to allow air bubbles to escape. Place a weight on top and cover with a clean cloth or loosely cover with a lid. Leave to ferment at room temperature (1825°C) away from direct sunlight.
After 3-7 days (depending on the desired taste), close the jar with a lid and store it in a cool place.
Reference by topic: December: time to ferment pumpkin - a recipe from an agronomist
IT'S TIME TO FERMENT
The fastest way to start the fermentation process is in cucumbers. Cucumbers are cut lengthwise (Chinese cooks beat them flat with a knife) and put in a bag or jar, adding salt, dill and chopped garlic to taste. All this is shaken for 2-3 minutes. Let it sit for half an hour while the rest of the dishes are prepared.
Just as easy to prepare and salted garlic. however, you can try it in a month and a half. The roots and tops of young (not dried) garlic are removed and the outer jacket is removed. The prepared heads are washed, placed in a jar and filled with cold water for three days, changing it once or twice a day. Prepare the brine: for 1 liter of water – 2 tbsp. spoons of coarse salt. The jars filled with brine are kept in a warm, dark place for 4-6 weeks until ready. Determine it by taste. The cloudy brine is drained (it has an unpleasant odor), filled with new brine with the same salt content, and the garlic is sent to the refrigerator or basement.
Process Sourdough beans are a bit more complicated. For 1 kg of blades you will need 2 liters of water, 4 tbsp. spoons of salt, 5-6 cloves of garlic, herbs, peppercorns - to taste.
The shoulder blades are pre-blanched. Pour water into a large saucepan, add a little salt, bring to a boil and add beans. After boiling, leave for 3-5 minutes, remove, cool and then put in a jar mixed with herbs.
To prepare the brine, bring the water to a boil, add salt, let it cook for 2-3 minutes and pour the hot beans over it. To prevent it from floating up, it is pressed down with pressure. Readiness is determined by the cloudiness of the brine and the appearance of a whitish film on top.
For long-term storage, the beans are placed in jars, filled with fresh brine made according to the same recipe, covered with plastic lids and placed in a cool place.
FERMENTATION – RECIPES FROM READERS
FERMENTATION: TASTY AND HEALTHY – BERRY FOR YOU WITH HONEY
All summer, berry kvass with honey saved me from the heat. I prepared it without yeast. This is much healthier, as it is easier to digest and has a beneficial effect on digestion and immunity.
Any berries are suitable for making this kvass: raspberries, blueberries, currants, cherries, blackberries, lingonberries, cranberries and even sea buckthorn. But the most delicious drink comes from mixed berries.
First, I throw the berries into boiling water. As soon as they boil, I add 10 grape and mint leaves to them. I remove the pan from the stove and let it brew. As soon as it cools down so that you can grasp the walls with your hand, I add honey to the drink, a glass and a half is needed for 5 liters.
Next, I pour all the contents into a 6-liter glass jar with a wide neck, add a small handful of any unwashed berries and five grape leaves. I cover the vessel with gauze and leave it to ferment for 2-3 days in a dark, warm place. The longer the kvass is infused, the more sour the final product. You can speed up the onset of fermentation by adding 10-14 unwashed raisins.
Next, all that remains is to wait for visible fermentation, after which I filter the finished drink, pour it into bottles and put it in the refrigerator.
© Author: Natalya Zastenkina, agronomist Photo by the author
PIERING-FERMENTATION OF TOMATOES, AND ROOTING OF PEARS, PLUMS AND GRAPES
Pickling is the oldest method of preparing vegetables and fruits for the winter. Our most famous products preserved in this way are pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut. But not every housewife knows that almost any vegetables, fruits and even berries can be prepared using the same principle.
HOW TO START THE FERMENTATION PROCESS
For start the fermentation process (in the new-fashioned way - fermentation)In addition to vegetables or fruits, you also need drinking water (usually cooled boiled water), salt (coarse, rock), sugar, oppression, heat and time. The best containers are glass, clay or food-grade plastic. It must first be sterilized with boiling water or steam.
Pickling is essentially lactic acid fermentation, which occurs due to bacteria living on the surface of vegetables and fruits. In order for the fermentation process to start, a certain percentage of salt (no more than 3% of the total mass) must be introduced into a medium rich in sugar. This is necessary so that lactobacilli (lactic acid) have something to reproduce on. It is also necessary to block the access of oxygen, that is, to apply oppression.
Typically, brine is prepared from boiled water and salt (1-1 tablespoons per 2 liter). If desired, you can add 1 teaspoon of sugar or a crust of rye bread to speed up fermentation. When pickling, salt is not a preservative; its task is to transfer substances dissolved in the cell juice of fruits, including sugar, into brine, thus providing nutrition for lactic acid bacteria.
The raw materials are placed in a clean (sterilized) jar, alternating them with spices, and the brine is poured so that the vegetables or fruits are completely covered with it. They are carefully compacted with a spoon or pestle to allow air bubbles to escape. A weight (weight) is placed on top.
If fermentation takes place in a 3-liter jar, one of the simplest options for pressing is a bag of water. Fill the jar 3-4 cm below the hanger, in this case there will be enough water so that the load does not float up. You need to insert three bags into each other, put them in a jar, straighten them, pour water into them and tie them tightly.
Pour water in a gentle stream so that the pressure does not fall inward, but is distributed over the surface. Then the bag is twisted into a spiral (like the tip of a balloon), and the inverted edges are secured to the neck, they act as a lid.
If using a different load, cover the container with a clean cloth or loosely cover it with a lid and leave it to ferment at room temperature (18-25°C, away from direct sunlight.
After 3-7 days (depending on the desired taste), the container is tightly closed with a lid and stored in a cool place. The fermentation process in the cold is suspended, but does not stop.
Raw materials for fermentation are selected of high quality: without stains, dents, rot, or other damage. Preferably the same size and ripeness. It is washed thoroughly, since cleanliness in this matter is the key to success.
It is very important to stop fermentation at the right time. When vegetables or fruits are placed in brine, their taste begins to change from sweet to sour. Insufficiently fermented products may have an unexpressed taste, but over-fermented ones are not the best option: their characteristic flavors will be completely overshadowed by acid.
You can check how the fermentation is going by trying the product. Ideally, it should retain the original taste, but at the same time acquire sourness and depth and at the same time have a pleasant aroma.
Tomatoes for pickling are chosen to be small or medium-fruited, with thick skin, small chambers and fleshy, elastic pulp. The ideal option is cream. It is desirable that they be of the same degree of maturity.
Another important component is herbs and spices, their set and quantity directly affect the taste of fermentation. I usually use horseradish leaves, cherry twigs and leaves, currant leaves, raspberries, dill with seeds, and tarragon. For spices, all types of peppers, clove buds, and cinnamon sticks are suitable. Sometimes when fermenting, mustard beans or powder or turmeric are added.
Standard brine for pouring tomatoes - 1%: per 60 liter of water - 2 g of salt. You can take a little less, but you cannot greatly reduce the amount of salt. Many recipes for cold pickled tomatoes contain sugar, which enhances the fermentation process. For every liter of water I put 1 tbsp. spoons of salt and XNUMX tbsp. spoon of sugar.
Pickled tomatoes are usually ready in a month, but you can eat them earlier as soon as you like the taste.
URENING PEARS, PLUMS AND GRAPES
Get pickled fruits in jars are no more difficult than tomatoes.
For urination It is better to take ripe sweet pears of medium or small size (so that they pass well through the neck), without damage to the skin and are quite dense. I fermented pears of the Talgar beauty variety. They are good as an addition to the second course, as an independent snack, but especially in combination with cheeses.
I put the washed pears in a 3-liter jar, layering each layer with herbs: basil, mint, rosemary, currant and cherry leaves. For spices, I add a cinnamon stick and a few clove buds. I prepare the brine at the rate of 1 tbsp. a spoonful of salt and 2 tbsp. spoons of sugar (or honey) per jar. I dissolve sugar (honey) and salt in 1 liter of warm water and pour it into a jar, then I bring its volume to the required volume not with brine, but with boiled water. Pears will turn out very tasty if you add a handful of walnuts to the jar.
I close the jar with a plastic lid and place it on a plate or tray in case the filling leaks out from under the lid during the fermentation process.
I leave the jar at room temperature in a dark place for a week, and then transfer it to the cold for further ripening. You can start tasting it after two weeks, but the pears become tastier and more aromatic after a month.
Pickled pears are used as a snack, dessert, added to various salads.
I also ferment plums in the same mixture. Hungarians are the best. In addition to the herbs, I put a piece of cinnamon and a few almonds in the jar. I place the workpiece immediately in a cool, dark place.
Not quite ripe sweet and sour dense grape berries I wash it thoroughly, put it together with the brushes in jars and sprinkle mustard powder on top (1 tablespoon per 3-liter jar). For the marinade, dissolve 1 tbsp in 1 liter of water. a spoonful of salt and 2-3 tbsp. spoons of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the grapes. For spices I use allspice, cloves and cinnamon.
The marinade should be at room temperature. So that it covers all the berries, I make a plug of grape leaves on top, tightly twisting them into a bunch. Instead of such a plug, you can put a light pressure (a soft plastic lid, a bag of water). To prevent it from floating up, cover the jar with a lid.
It is advisable to immediately take the workpiece to a place with an air temperature of 1218°C, where the berries will slowly ferment for a month. After this time, the soaked grapes are ready for consumption.
This method is good because you can use slightly unripe grapes, which would otherwise be difficult to use anywhere.
© Author: Natalya Zastenkina, agronomist Photo by the author
Reference by topic: Do-it-yourself fermented tea - harvesting plants + drying + fermentation
WHAT IS FERMENTATION - VIDEO
© Author: Natalya Zastenkina, agronomist Photo by the author
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