Fermented foods are so good for you.
They help to maintain good flora in
your gut which helps to build up
your immunity to disease; see here.
I've made other fermented foods such as sauerkraut; see here. (please note, the dill pickles were not lacto-fermented; vinegar was used for the pickling process).
I wanted to try something new this time. We love Rutabagas! And since they stay so firm even after cooking, they are a good candidate for making pickles.
We are trying to encourage the growth of good bacteria and discourage the growth of bad bacteria. To assist in this endeavor:
- Start with a clean kitchen, clean equipment (very little is needed) and clean hands
- Make a simple food grade sanitizer for your kitchen surfaces and equipment:
Mix 2 cups of cool water and 1/4 tsp of plain, unscented, non-concentrated bleach
- Place in a spray bottle and spray down your surfaces after (washing with dish detergent and rinsing well)
- Allow to air dry
(Pro Tip: Use too much bleach and it is no longer a food grade sanitizer; too little and it is ineffective.)
Cut the Rutabaga into the size you desire.
You can also shred them if you want more of a "slaw" type of pickle.
The most important thing is to keep the pieces as uniform as you can so they will ferment evenly and you will wind up with a really nice pickle.
Dissolve the salt into the water following this formula:
1 TBSP salt for every quart of food and/or water.
I had about a quart of rutabagas and I needed two quarts of water to completely cover them, so I used 3 TBSP of salt.
I hand-grind my salt because it is cheaper to buy it in bulk, coarse ground, than it is to purchase pre-ground.
Place the Rutabagas into your jar or crock and cover with the salt solution (brine).
This is an anaerobic process:
meaning you must keep the vegetables completely submerged under the salt solution or you will have something funky that you do not want to eat growing on it.
I placed a non reactive plastic disc weighted down with a little container filled with brine (just in case it leaked) to hold everything under.
I placed the jar in the corner of a counter with a towel covering it and let it sit.
While checking everyday for funky growth and to see if there were any pieces of vegetable escaping to the surface of the water.
If you notice any scum on the surface skim it off. It should smell good and fresh not foul or nasty.
It may take 3 to 4 weeks for fermentation to complete. It depends on the temperature of your kitchen. 70 degrees is perfect for fermentation, if it is cooler, it will take longer, if it is warmer it will speed up. You do not want to ferment in too warm conditions, the fermentation process goes a little wonky and you may wind up with some unwanted growth. Once fermentation is complete and they taste the way you like, store them in the fridge where they will last for several months (if you don't eat them first). Do not can them! There is not a tested recipe for canned rutabaga pickles and the heat would destroy the probiotics.