Keep Vegetables Crunchy During Fermentation
Add a Tannin-Containing Agent to Your Pickling Jars.
Black tea leaves, oak leaves, grape leaves, bay leaves, or horseradish leaves all work well. Add a few larger leaves or a good teaspoon or so of loose tea or a teabag to a half-gallon jar.
Ferment at the Coolest Temperature You Can
A fast, hot fermentation can result in a less-than-stellar crunch to a vegetable pickle. If your house is too warm for fermenting, consult our article on keeping cultures cool in summer, for ideas on creating a cooler environment for culturing.
Try Small Whole Vegetables First
They tend to retain their crunch better than a chopped-up larger vegetable.
Remove the Blossom End
The end of the vegetable contains enzymes that soften vegetable pickles. Use a knife to remove a thin slice from the end, to preserve the firm texture.
Puncture the Skin
If harvested a bit later in the year or has been on the vine a little longer, many vegetables will develop a thicker skin. Use a skewer or paring knife to prick a hole in each vegetable. The brine can penetrate faster and the vegetables will culture more evenly.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to achieve that crunch that is so desirable in a vegetable pickle.
Keeping Vegetables Submerged
When it comes to fermenting vegetables, there are a variety of fermentation vessels to choose from, and everyone has a favorite.
Mason or canning jars are used most commonly since they are both affordable and quite versatile. These jars can easily be found at hardware stores and big box stores alike. But no matter what type of container you decide to use, you can keep your fermenting produce below the brine - all it takes is a little creativity, resulting in wonderfully cultured foods!
Experiment and explore other options for How to Keep Fermented Vegetables Submerged.
Timing of Fermented Vegetables
There is no hard and fast rule for how long to culture vegetables; there are many factors to consider when deciding to move vegetables to cold storage. Time, temperature and ingredients all have a significant impact on culturing. Before adding salt and, if desired, a starter, to your prepared vegetables, you'll want to consider decisions about culturing time and temperature.