Even beginners can make their own fermented foods! Fermented Vegetables (Storey Publishing, 2014) includes in-depth instruction for making kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles, and then offers more than 120 recipes, using those basic methods, for fermenting 64 different vegetables and herbs. The recipes are creative, delicious, and healthful, and many of them can be made in small batches…even just a single pint. The following recipe for fermented squash chutney is from Part 3, “In the Crock: Fermenting Vegetables A to Z.”
You can buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Fermented Vegetables.
In one of my experimental moods I had this big idea that spaghetti squash would be great fermented. I imagined cutting it in half and forking out the meat into little strings ready to salt. That was not what happened. It turns out that the strings do not freely come out until the squash is cooked. Raw spaghetti squash is a mess. There will be no spaghetti squash kraut in our house. This recipe uses winter squash to make a wonderfully thick condiment, both sweet and sour, and its bright orange hue adds a spark to any plate.
Squash Chutney Recipe
• 1 1/2 pounds winter squash halved, seeded, and peeled
• 1/2 cup shredded carrot (optional)
• 1–2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
• 2 cloves garlic, grated
• 1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
• 1/2 cup chopped raisins
1. Shred the squash, with either a cheese grater or the shredder blade on the food processor. You should have about 4 cups. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the carrots, if using.
2. Sprinkle in 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, working it in with your hands. Taste for salt and sprinkle in more as needed to achieve a salty flavor that is not overwhelming. Add the garlic and curry powder. Stir in the raisins. Let sit, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, then toss and massage again for a few minutes to get everything mixed. At this point there is brine building at the bottom.
3. Press your vegetables into a jar or crock. More brine will release at this stage, and you should see brine above the veggies. Top the ferment with a quart-sized ziplock bag. Press the plastic down onto the top of the ferment and then fill it with water and seal; this will act as both follower and weight.
4. Set aside on a baking sheet to ferment, somewhere nearby, out of direct sunlight, and cool, for 7 to 21 days. Check daily to make sure that the vegetables are submerged. You may see scum on top; it’s generally harmless, but if you see mold, scoop it out.
5. You can start to test the ferment on day 7. It’s ready when the squash has softened and is pleasingly sour, with some lingering sweet notes. The color will remain bright orange.
6. Spoon the ferment into smaller jars, leaving as little headroom as possible, and tamping it down under the brine. Screw on the lids, then store in the fridge. This ferment will keep, refrigerated, for 12 months.
More from Fermented Vegetables
Excerpted from Fermented Vegetables (c) Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey. Used with permission of Storey Publishing. You can buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes.