August 10, 2015

Lacto Fermented Vegetables

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Fermenting with sea salt brine called buro in Tagalog language has been a Philippine method of preserving vegetables for as long as I can remember. I specially like the spicy mustard greens bought from the wet market. My mother added them to sour soups. I really love burong mustasa with the Chinese-Filipino steamed bun sandwich, cua pao. Another favorite of mine is green mango. I have made both several times but with a shorter period of fermentation and never used the airlock system.

I never knew lacto fermentation has become very popular and there are numerous food blogs that are already in the internetverse. I bought 2 sets of the airlock system and fermented green mangoes and used Fido jars I already have to ferment a combination of cauliflower, broccoli, sweet red bell pepper, and carrots, and Chinese mustard greens. I have demolished all these as soon as they were ready and started a bigger batch of cauliflower combination minus broccoli which I didn't care for. The Chinese mustard is very mild so for my second batch, I used regular mustard greens because it is spicy and has the flavor I remember back in the Philippines.

Lactic acid fermenting has been around for thousands of years. In the Philippines, fish, fish sauce, and tiny shrimps called bagoong are fermented the same way; I just didn't know how healthy they are. Lacto fermentation not only keeps raw vegetables crispy and delicious making them addicting, it also makes them a super food that's good for the body, if one is to believe what has been written about it. All I know is they taste extremely yummy.

Lacto Fermented Assorted Vegetables
for a quart Mason jar
sliced carrots
¼ cup each sliced tiny red. orange, and yellow peppers
5 green onions, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 whole peeled garlic clove
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon red, white, green, and black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh basil
a large piece of washed cabbage leaf
sea salt brine: ¾ tablespoon fine sea salt per cup of filtered water
  • Make sure the vegetables are washed in filtered water.
  • Place basil leaves in the bottom of the jar. Layer half of the carrots, then a layer of peppers, 
  • Add garlic, sliced green onion, peppercorns, and bay leaf.  
  • Layer half of the cauliflower, a layer of carrots, peppers, and top with the rest of cauliflower. Gently tamp vegetables down with a wooden spoon, pour brine on the vegetables up to 80% of the jar; tamp again, making sure all the vegetables are immersed in the brine and there are no airpockets.
  • Place the cabbage leaf on top of vegetables, pressing down with a small 4 ounce glass jar (one that is not made in China) made without lead. Press and make sure the brine is 1 inch below the lip of the jar.Place airtight lid and airlock. Leave on the kitchen counter for 3 to 4 weeks. 
  • If a white film develops on top, just remove and discard it. Mine didn't have any after almost 4 weeks.
  • Remove airtight cap and airlock, replace with regular lid, and refrigerate.

Burong Mangga (Lacto Fermented Green Mangoes)
green mango spears
sea salt brine
  • Choose the greenest sourest mango. 
  • Peel and cut into spears. Arrange tightly in a pint or quart Mason jar.
  • Place a glass or ceramic weight on top to keep the slices from floating.
  • Fill jar with brine, leaving 1 inch below the rim. 
  • Place airtight lid and airlock. Leave on the kitchen counter for 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Remove airtight cap and airlock, replace with regular lid, and refrigerate.;


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