Categories
Ferments

Garlic Fermented in Honey

This simple technique provides preserved garlic plus a delicious garlic-infused fermented honey, which you want in your salad dressings, marinating your roasted veg, drizzled over pasta, and spooned into your mouth.

Ingredients

  • as much garlic as you want
  • unpasteurized honey

Step-by-step

  • Peel garlic cloves and place in a jar.
  • Pour honey so the cloves are submerged. 
  • Stir in a teaspoon of water, which kickstarts fermentation.
  • Loosely cover the jar with a lid and allow to ferment at room temperature for at least a month. I’ve gone up to a year, and the results were wildly intense, almost medicinal. The cloves may float to the top, particularly at the start of the fermentation period, so be sure to stir the garlic back under so it doesn’t spend too much time exposed to oxygen.
  • To store, just seal the lid tightly and keep at room temperature, using the garlic and infused honey as needed.
Categories
Ferments

Fermented Garlic Paste

Once this ingredient enters your kitchen, you will never be able to live without it again. I use the paste in place of minced garlic. It takes some time to peel all the garlic initially, but then all garlic prep is eliminated. Use this same technique with ginger, turmeric, or a mix, and feel free to add spices and herbs!

Ingredients

  • as much garlic as you can stand to peel
  • salt

Step-by-step

  • Peel the garlic. For maximum ease, smash each clove with the flat edge of a big kitchen knife. The skins then will slip right off. 
  • Using a blender or food processor, blend garlic to a paste.
  • Calculate salt. Find a jar big enough to fit garlic paste and still will have headspace to weigh down the paste while it ferments. Place empty jar on scale, power on and tare so the scale reads 0 grams. Spoon paste into jar, try to remove air pockets as you go, and measure weight of paste in grams. Multiply the weight by .02 (2 percent). This is the salt quantity. (For example, if the paste weights 300 grams, use 6 grams of salt.) Sprinkle salt on top of paste.
  • Weigh down contents of jar. The easiest way to weigh down the contents is with a Ziploc bag filled with water.
    Open Ziploc bag, and make sure there are no leaks. Put your fist inside, and press down onto the surface of the paste. Fold the outer edges of the bag over the sides of the jar. Fill the bag with water so it comes close to the top of the jar. Now place a rubber band around the top of the jar, which will keep the Ziploc bag in place.
  • Ferment: Allow jar to ferment at room temperature for 10 days to one month or longer.
  • After fermentation, carefully remove the weight. Store in an airtight container in fridge, where it will keep indefinitely. Use as you would minced garlic.
Categories
Ferments

Smoky Fermented Hot Sauce

Scrambled eggs, takeout pizza, fried rice, mac and cheese, roasted veg … are all improved with hot sauce. I don’t mean the stuff that makes your face sweat and your heart race and your brain fog over. Those are not culinary experiences I crave.

I want something with a balance of salty, sour, and umami flavors, and a kick of heat, just enough to wake up the palate a bit. I like to add chipotle peppers for some smokiness. This process takes a couple weeks, but it’s mostly hands off. And once it’s ready, you’ll have a shelf stable product to keep in the pantry forever. Although I doubt it will last very long, with all the meals you’ll be slathering it on.

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale

Ingredients

  • A handful of hot peppers of choice, stems removed (I like red jalapeños)
  • 2 ripe bell peppers (not the green ones) or a handful of sweet peppers, stems removed
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers (dried or the canned ones in adobo sauce)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • salt
  • fruit vinegar
  • cooking oil of choice

Step-by-step

  • Preheat oven to 450°F and lightly oil a baking pan. Remove skin and quarter onion. Cook onion in oven until charred — about 15 minutes.
  • Prep veggies by chopping into pieces that will fit in the blender. Be sure to use fresh veggies. Anything past its prime may encourage  mold and yeast growth during fermentation.
  • Blend onion, garlic, carrot, and peppers until smooth. Taste for heat level. Not hot enough? Add more hot peppers. Too hot? Add another carrot or bell pepper.
  • Calculate salt. Find a jar that is about double the volume of the veggie purée (the jar should have plenty of headspace for weighing down the contents ). Place empty jar on scale, power on and tare so the scale reads 0 grams. Pour purée into jar and measure weight in grams. Multiply the weight by .02 (2 percent). This is the salt quantity for the hot sauce. (For example, if the purée weights 300 grams, use 6 grams of salt.) Sprinkle salt on top of purée.
  • Weigh down contents of jar: Pepper purées can be very active during fermentation. Usually solids will separate from the liquid and rise to the top. They also have a tendency to grow kahm yeast in hot climates. The easiest and cleanest thing to do is to weigh down the contents with a Ziploc bag filled with water.
    Open Ziploc bag, and make sure there are no leaks.  put your fist inside, and press down onto the surface of the purée. Fold the outer edges of the bag over the sides of the jar. Fill bag with water. Ideally the weight of the water will be close to the weight of the purée, but eyeballing it is fine. Now place a rubber band around the top of the jar, which will keep the Ziploc bag in place.
  • Ferment: Allow jar to ferment at room temperature for 10-14 days (or longer!). Since this can be an active ferment, I recommend placing a kitchen towel underneath the jar to capture any spills. Also, the activity may push the water in the bag up and over the edge of the jar. Be sure to check often and add more water if necessary, so the purée is fully weighed down.
  • After fermentation, carefully remove the Ziploc bag. Blend fermented purée with an equal amount of fruit vinegar. This makes it shelf stable, plus the flavor is more complex with the acidity. Store in a tightly sealed bottle with very little headspace (the oxygen could potentially encourage mold growth). It will keep at room temperature indefinitely. If anxious about mold growth, the container can also be stored in the fridge, if you’re anxious about mold). I have stored jars of hot sauce for well over a year in the pantry, and I’ve never experienced any mold growth.