Setting Up Your Fermented Kitchen
At first, you may try making a few fermented veggies, or a sourdough starter, to supplement the fermented foods that you purchase in the health food store.
But pretty soon, you’re likely to find how FUN and EASY fermentation is! You may quickly expand into making all of your own fermented foods. Here are some things to consider when setting up your kitchen to make fermenting easy.
The four basics of fermentation are all interconnected. It actually becomes easiest when you include all of them in your culinary routine, as they each produce things that compliment the others. The four basics are fermented drinks, fermented vegetables, sourdough starter, and fermented milks.
Some tools you will need include the Volrath Redco King Kutter. This hand operated food grater makes cutting and grating vegetables really easy! You can whip out a quart of cabbage for cole slaw or sauerkraut in just a few minutes with this gem. It is easier to clean than any electric food processor, and way easier on the knuckles than a hand grater.
Covered Pottery Dishes
A nice thing to have, though not altogether necessary, is a pretty covered hand made pottery casserole or other covered ceramic dish, about 1-1/2 or 2 quarts in size. Make sure the cover is loose enough to let air in. This makes an attractive container in which to grow your sourdough culture.
You will need a supply of butter muslin available here. Don’t settle for cheap, fine cheesecloth like you find in the grocery or hardware store. You will get many more miles out of real butter muslin.
You can acquire some Ball brand jars (or Kerr brand) from the local Salvation Army or Thrift Store. During late summer and autumn seasons, you can also get them by the case in many grocery stores, and even in a big box store like Wal-Mart. You will want to start out with a couple of cases of 1 quart size, and maybe a case of pint size jars with screw on rings and lids.
A large sized strainer and bowl that will fit together, are really necessary the cheese making process, and producing the whey that is foundational for vegetable fermenting.
Wooden or plastic spoons are necessary, as lacto-bacilli and most of the ferment cultures you will find will react with metal. Don’t use it with fermented foods.
It is helpful to have a cookie sheet or a flat tray of some kind, to place on your counter during the first phase of fermentation. Jars will hiss and spit, and small amounts of liquid may come leaking out. This is normal during the active phase of fermentation, which may last a week or 10 days. The pan or tray will help to keep leaking juices off of the counter.