I climbed the elder tree in the back yard on three separate missions, armed with a deformed coat hanger, to harvest green elderberries. I have just over a kilo, which are vacuum packed with Maldon salt (5% by weight) - as they ferment they will detoxify, lose their bright colour, and start looking a lot like capers. After a couple of weeks, I’ll pack them into jars with spirit vinegar, infused with the elderflowers from the same tree, which I bottled about 6 weeks ago.
Two members of the Brassicaceae family. Brussel sprout tops (Brassica oleracea) in 2% salt with Lapsang Souchon tea, Balm of Gilead (possibly Populus x gileadensis) toasted chipotle meco chile, bay, thyme and garlic. Started on 10th January, 2013. The texture is good, particularly the small, lighter tops, but the spice mixture is a little odd, a bit bitter and somewhat confusing. It was the first time I put spices in a ferment. I’m going to think carefully before doing so again
The leaf below is Mustard Spinach (aka Komatsuna) (Brassicaceae rapa) also in 2% salt solution, of which 15% is yoghurt whey. The biting pepperiness of the raw leaf has been lessened by the fermenting, and despite the fading of the colour, which was a deep, vibrant green, it is a pleasant thing to eat.
An onion, left in yoghurt whey and 2% salt for two months. The taste and smell of both the liquid and the onion are great, lactic and sweet, but the texture of the onion is slippery and mushy. The liquid will be the part to keep, perhaps s a seasoning or to backslop a new ferment
Pickled vegetable testing day
Under the psychedelic layer of moulds that have taken hold in my month-long absence lies a hot pink, tangy and complex stratum of red cabbage, carrots, sesame and nigella seeds. It started as a salad on the French & Grace stall at Feast on March 9th, and these are the leftovers, to which I added 2% salt and 100g yoghurt whey.