Whether you are a homesteader, real food lover, or simply wish to harness the goodness of fermentation, Traditionally Fermented Foods: Innovative Recipes and Old-Fashioned Techniques for Sustainable Eating(Page Street Publishing, 2017) by Shannon Stonger provides the building blocks to confidently ferment your own food and can provide your family with nutritious meals while decreasing food costs. Stonger holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, is the founder of Nourishing Days, and is a writer for Cultures for Health. The following excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Grains.”
There are a few vegetables that always seem to do well in our garden — turnips, black-eyed peas and summer squash, for instance. I like planting heirloom varieties like the Tatume squash from Mexico or the fast growing Desi squash that produces abundant baseball-size fruit. Fermenting squash spears and rounds has long been a part of my summer food preservation, but this flavorful ferment that eats like a relish was a game-changer. The flavor profile is borrowed from the Latin American sauerkraut that we love, making it my new favorite way to ferment that morning squash harvest I carried in with my apron.
• 4 cups (1.3 kiligrams) packed, shredded summer squash or zucchini
• 1 medium carrot 2 garlic cloves
• 1-1/2 tbsp (23 grams) sea salt
• 2 tsp (1 grams) dried oregano
• 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, as desired.
1. Remove stem and blossom ends from the squash. Grate the squash into a medium size mixing bowl using the largest holes of a box grater. Repeat with the carrot and then grate garlic into the bowl using the smallest holes of a box grater.
2. Add the salt, oregano and red pepper flakes and mix together well with clean hands or a wooden spoon. Allow to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw the brine from the squash.
3. Pack the vegetables into a clean quart (1-L)-size jar up to the 3 to 3-1/2 cup (709 to 828 ml) mark. Weight down with the fermentation weight of your choosing and seal the jar tightly.
4. Place at cool room temperature (60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, optimally) and allow to ferment for at least two weeks. If you haven’t used an airlock, then during this period, especially during the first 5 to 7 days, you will need to burp the jars by quickly opening them to release the built-up gases that result from fermentation. To do so, carefully and quickly open the jar, listen for the release of gas, and close the jar back up with just a bit of the gases still remaining inside.
The traditional cortido made with cabbage is served alongside pupusas. This cortido, likewise, is delicious with beans, meats, corn tortillas and all manner of south-of-the border cuisine. It also makes a killer sandwich relish or baked potato topping.
Reprinted with permission from Traditionally Fermented Foods by Shannon Stonger, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Shannon Stonger.