I was given a huge head of cabbage and 6 lbs of carrots. That is too much for our little family to eat up in a timely fashion, so I decided to ferment them. This will be my 2nd attempt (I was very pleased with the 1st). I used Himalayan pink salt again with boiled (then cooled) tap water (last time I used bottled water). I used the nicest outer leaves of the cabbage instead of any sort of “starter” since you can see the blue hazy yeast on the dark outer leaves. I cut the washed carrots into spears because I liked the way they pack the jars without floating up and they serve well in that form. I was careful to cut the spear lengths to match my varied jar heights, packing each jar as I was cutting. I added some powdered ginger to a few jars (this time I didn't have fresh ginger on-hand). I ended up with a lot of bits of carrots because of fussy cutting, so I threw those into a blender with some of the salt brine as well as the bulk of the inner head of cabbage and made that into a pulp. I also added some fresh comfrey herb to it from my garden. The comfrey, I've been meaning to use medicinally, but haven't gotten around to it, so this was a way to utilize it. Comfrey shouldn't add much flavor since it really doesn't have any. I intend to use these blended, pulpy mixes as last minute additions to soups or blend with olive oil for a quick salad dressing. I did two baby food jars of carrot with fresh catnip leaves just to experiment with flavors.
When I went to the garden for the comfrey, I noticed that I have a lot of sage to harvest. I have a lot of dried sage already, and nothing is as good as fresh sage in a cooked dish. That gave me the idea to ferment it. But how? I had used up all of my cabbage and carrots at this point, but still had salt brine. Then I spotted that large zucchini that I hadn't yet found a use for. I had read that zucchini was difficult to ferment without turning to mush, so I decided to go straight to mush and start it out as pulp. I used a big handful of fresh sage leaves and made the zucchini/sage pulp in the blender (with a few dandelion leaves). The zucchini/sage mixture doesn't have anything for starter except the fresh leaves (no cabbage). That will be amazing to brighten up a beef/mushroom/barley stew!
I still had a little brine left. So, I made a couple of small experimental jars. I had read something online about a corn relish (fermented), but felt like this needed garlic and jalapeno which I didn't have on-hand. So, I carefully broke off each kernel from the cob (not sure why I didn't just cut them off, but I note it here because the juice wasn't released which may affect how it ferments). I diced up some mini red bell peppers (mild) and added it and the corn to a jar with a comfrey leaf.
To the last bit of brine, I diced up a mandarin orange rind and added a teaspoon of dried elderberries. I added a piece of comfrey to the top and weighed it all down by inverting a soda pop lid before putting on the lid to the baby jar.
I did half of this project yesterday, and so I was relieved that some effervescent action is already present in some of the jars! I was a little nervous without my raw kraut juice insurance policy this go-a-round.
TIP: To ensure that my jars were clean, I rinsed them out and while they were wet, microwaved the lot of them for 1 minute. Be sure to let jars cool before filling.