Although, it's been a long time in the making, I've recently started really getting into fermenting foods. I made a batch of pickles last year, and while I really enjoyed their taste, they were soggy, they were not spicy, and the recipe I was following suggested water bath canning! Let me tell you a little something about fermented foods, and then we'll discuss why I was so angry about the canning process. First of all, fermenting is not new, it's been used probably as long as agriculture has been around in order to preserve foods. Mostly it consists of putting a lot of something in a brine and just letting it sit there until it pickles itself. It's really tasty, and once you've had a fermented pickle, those lifeless things you buy in a store just never taste quite as good. I say lifeless because fermented pickles are teeming with life, bacterial life that is! I know, some of you may be put off by the thought that there are bacteria living in fermented pickles, but they are the same beneficial bacteria that are living right now in your guts. These guys help digest food, keep you healthy, and there needs to be a certain amount of them in your guts in order for you to feel good (it's often referred to as your intestinal flora, or gut flora).
So why should you be concerned about keeping the bacteria in your guts happy? Well, there has been recent evidence that suggests that gut flora being in an imbalance may make you fat! (http://www.naturalnews.com/046618_gut_bacteria_obesity_prebiotics.html). So we should not only welcome more probiotic foods into our diet, but prebiotic foods as well (so eat those fruits and veggies!). However, the fermenting stuff I am about to introduce is probiotic, so enjoy the pictures, and since this my new obsession prepare to hear much more about it!
Last but not least this is the current experiment in my gallon jar. You can see the cozies I crocheted for this jar, and my half gallon jar. One of the important aspects of fermenting is that they need to be kept out of direct light. But since I like keeping an eye on my projects, I wanted to keep them on the counter in my kitchen, hence crocheted cozies! I took green tomatoes, onions, ground cherries, carrot, and a jalapeno and tossed them together. I made some brine and put a jar on top to keep everything submerged. This is something that I am super excited to break out and try soon, they have been fermenting close to two weeks now and this is the first time I've just flat out gone my own way in fermenting and tried something completely new. I am by no mean an expert, and I did a ton of reading and research before I even started fermenting anything at home. I'll be posting some book reviews very soon about books that had fermenting recipes in them, for those of you interesting in undertaking this adventure as well.