Monday, 17 January 2011


Back on Clare Island we feasted on various ferments that had been sitting in hibernation since my last visit.

Carrot Kimchee, a sensational spicy combination of fermented carrots, apples, chillis, ginger and horseradish – the pure expression of fermentation – the carrots crunchy and orange as the day they were pulled.  (not to mention that these were riddled with carrotfly, only rescued for same kimchee…)

Kimchee is a traditional fermented Korean dish, which is served with rice and tends to contain cabbage or a variety of radishes, we have experimented with Apples, Courgettes and Jerusalem Artichokes… See Sandor Katz (Wild Fermentation) for more info.

Cut carrots as desired (I like batons), likewise a couple of apples peeled.  Soak overnight in brine (60g salt to 1lt water).  Following day taste carrots, should taste salty.  (if too salty rinse, if not salty enough add salt).  Drain and reserve brine.  Mix grated ginger, garlic, onion, chillies, horseradish.  Add carrots and apples.  Press into a jar.  Push down until liquid rises.  Add reserved brine to cover if necessary.  Pressure into closed Kilner Jar.  Leave several days at room temp.  Make sure the veg are covered in liquid.  Then move to a cool dark place for several months, until wintry scurvy overwhelms… enjoy!

Jars of Lacto-Fermented Courgettes and Courgette Kimchee (the outcome of this Summer’s glut!) were also on the menu as well as a lovely earthy tasting LF Celeriac, real gritty organic stuff… The LF Courgettes quite the material of cravings… Then these last few days we made several jars of LF Jerusalem Artichokes, combining them with any available herbs, bay leaves and chard, as well as doing them kimchee-style… apparently they are a winner, I have yet to taste.   We toasted our success with bottles of fermented brews – an Elderflower and Gooseberry Wine of 2009 vintage, slightly musty, but more than drinkable and a divine Gooseberry Wine, with a bit of sparkle, again 2009, gold the colour of nectar, a sharp dry white… stuff to salute the stars with.

Back in Norfolk on the ferment side I have been getting through several jars of LF French Beans.  Unfortunately they were picked late and fermented when already old, and although the flavour is good, their skins are tough.  It is important to use the freshest ingredients for fermenting. But chopped into salads they still work as a perky nutritious addition.

What better way to begin the year that with all these gut improving veggies… and what to do with the remaining liquid?  Either use it to ferment something else – it contains the appropriate lactobacilli, just add it to your latest jar of veg… or… for the ultimate New Year Purge – drink it!

Lacto-Fermented Veg Juice aids digestion, soothes the stomach, boosts the immune system, is said to fight cancer and treat flu…

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