Monday, June 30, 2014
Fermented Green Beans
This year was a good year for bush beans. All of a sudden the 8' double row of bush beans in the garden exploded and I wound up with over five pounds sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to do something with them. Some I froze and some I fermented using this recipe that I tried for the first time. They're a little crunchy for my taste so next time I may pour the brine over the beans while it's still hot to soften them a bit, but the flavor is good.
Fermenting has always been a little scary to me, since it's the intentional cultivation of bacteria -- yes, good bacteria, but bacteria nonetheless! I was comforted to read that there are no known cases of botulism from home fermenting, since basic precautions ensure that nothing bad will grow in your ferment. Basically all you have to do is make sure your fermenting veggies don't touch the air and you'll be safe.
I used the water bag method since I don't have a fancy airlock lid (this blog talks about a few different cheap methods to use, including the water bag method). I just made sure there was enough brine in the jar to more than cover the beans, then put a pint sized ziplock bag about halfway full of water into the top of the jar. This weighted down the beans enough so that none were near the surface of the brine, staying safe from mold or bad bacteria.
There aren't many other fermentation recipes I'm interested in trying, since many (like kimchi) tend to be quite strong or spicy, but I would like to try lacto-fermented pickles and sauerkraut. Both are supposed to be fairly straightforward recipes and a simpler method of preservation than canning is. Fermenting also preserves more nutrients than canning, since heat is not usually involved, so that's another great plus. Another benefit is that it doesn't require any extra equipment beyond a mason jar or crock of some kind and I like things that I can do with what is already in my kitchen.
Have any of y'all ever tried your hand at fermenting? Any good recipes to share?