By Brian Barth
A mason jar packed with cultured or fermented vegetables at your local urban provisions shop will likely set you back $10 to $15. Given that the time and materials involved are no more than five minutes and $2, respectively, one imagines that the makers of cultured vegetables have spent eight years training with fermentation masters in some stone-age village, or that they've mortgaged their house to pay for high-end fermenting equipment to ensure that the dilly beans come out tasting properly pickled.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's how it works. This process can be applied to virtually any vegetable.
The finer you chop or shred the vegetables, the faster they will ferment (and the greater the quantity you can stuff in a jar). You can also ferment things like carrots, onions, radishes, beets—even whole cabbage leaves. It's primarily a matter of personal preference and how you intend to use the finished product. Depending on the vegetable, wash and peel as you would if you were going to eat it raw.
Salt prevents mold organisms, while favoring beneficial bacteria, and results in a crisp-textured fermented product. Stuff the vegetables in a mason jar or fermentation crock and cover them with a brine made from 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water (use natural, non-iodized salt and, preferably, bottled spring water). Mix in herbs and other seasonings as desired.
The key here is for the vegetables to remain submerged in the brine, as anything exposed to air will rot. For vegetables that float, find a way to weigh them down—fermentation weights are the easiest way to go.
Let it Ferment
If using a mason jar, tighten the lid until it is barely snug. This prevents oxygen from entering, but lets carbon dioxide escape; otherwise pressure can build until a messy explosion occurs (fermentation crocks typically have a water seal for this purpose). Store in a cool, dark place, ideally where the temperature stays around 65 to 70 degrees.
Fermentation times vary from three days to three months or more, depending on the vegetable, temperature and other factors. The only true guide to know when it's ready is taste is that you want a pleasant, effervescent zing. Enjoy your dill pickles! Once the optimal flavor is attained, move the batch to the refrigerator to stop further fermentation.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
'Kicking Ass for Her Generation': Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat
By Julia Conley
Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.