What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

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What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby AnnieBoo on Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:29 am

I've read a million and one recipes, but I'm curious to hear some first-hand favorites.

So far I've mostly just used things I had on hand in the spice cabinet and some fresh dill from the garden (which is all gone, now).

I haven't used fresh garlic yet, because I keep forgetting to buy it. I know onion is also popular but I'm worried about odor - my spouse is already grumbling a bit over the smell from some cauliflower I'm fermenting.

What are some of your favorite "flavor additives" for your veggie ferments?
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby Christopher Weeks on Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:46 am

Garlic is #1. Ginger.

Chiles of any kind, but jalapeno peppers, dried chiles of many kinds, and gochugaru.

Black peppercorns are nice.

Juniper berries, allspice, bay leaves, whole chives, whatever's growing or whatever I have in the spice drawer.
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby JohnDulleck on Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:28 pm

I am making mostly sauerkrauts so far, but garlic goes in nearly every batch, 2-3 cloves per quart.

I tried onions recently and was surprised by how unsmelly the ferment was the first week or two. I have only done onions once (1 large red onion in a 1/2 gallon jar of cabbage) but the taste was amazing!

I am fairly new at this, so I haven't done much else, but these are my early experiences.
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby khoomeizhi on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:11 am

things i've used include: garlic, ginger, onion, ramps, fresh hot peppers, fresh herbs including thyme, winter savory, dill, chives, garlic chives, basil, dried spices including mustard seed, dill seed, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, chilies...there's probably a lot more. wild stuff like spicebush berries...etc
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby AnnieBoo on Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:55 am

JohnDulleck wrote:I am making mostly sauerkrauts so far, but garlic goes in nearly every batch, 2-3 cloves per quart.


Huh! This is the first time I've heard of using garlic in sauerkraut! I'll have to give that a try.

Do you eat the garlic cloves after fermenting, or are they just there to lend flavor?

Thanks for all the ideas! I've tried some of them - cloves, dill seed, coriander seed, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf, mustard seed...I think that's about it. I have some cardamom pods I was thinking of trying, too.

I suppose the flip side of this question is - what "additives" have you tried that did not work or were a bad idea?
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby JohnDulleck on Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:18 am

When I add garlic cloves I just cut them in half and toss them in with the cabbage. After sitting in brine for a few weeks, the garlic no longer has a strong flavor of it's own, you may well eat a garlic clove without even knowing it. But the garlic flavor is well integrated into the other flavors of the kraut.
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby Tibor on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:26 pm

I just chop up the garlic and usually a bunch. I can't recall not using it. Besides the flavor, it is good medicine. Onion is an excellent addition to kraut. It adds water, sweetness, besides the flavor. Grated Kohlrabi is another wonderful addition. So are beets which also adds amazing color.
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby fermentastic on Thu May 18, 2017 10:57 pm

I often make a traditional kraut, ie caraway seed. But I think our favorite is garlic flavored. I've heard that garlic taste/flavor is best when two chemicals from inside the cells are able to combine, and the best way to get those two chemicals to combine is by crushing or really finely chopping your garlic. I've used whole and stuff that was put through a press and I've also just given them a good press with the heel of my hand. I'm not sure I can tell the difference.

Tied for 1st place as a favorite is Ginger Lemon. We grated some ginger and then zested some lemons and added the ginger and lemon. Whoa, man that stuff was tasty. I was shocked at how good.

I love kraut, but I understand with the usual flavor and tang, it can be an acquired flavor or maybe a polarizing flavor (people love it or hate it), but I suspect ginger-lemon kraut could be a gateway kraut. It's tasty and the usual krauty flavor is mellowed by the ginger and lemon.

I've also tried peppercorns, juniper berries, alspice, and some other stuff. I'm going to start doing more experimentation with flavors, because I'm sure there's more out there that would be good. I've had a few commercial krauts that were very tasty with things like smoked jalapeno or horseradish. I want to really get adventurous.
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby CulturedCascadian on Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:59 pm

One thing that I've tried to good effect is taking the classic mix of dried pickling spice (peppercorns, allspice, mustard seed, etc.) and boiling it hard in the liquid that will become the salt brine. This seems to release more of their flavors than simply putting them in the jar with the ferment, which in my experience results in only the faintest hint of pickling spice.

As for herbs, I've had bad luck with using fresh rosemary -- I made some cuke pickles with it years ago and it was frankly pretty disgusting, it just didn't pan out well. That said, it's entirely possible I used way too much or I should have used just the leaves -- if memory serves, I simply harvested some branches from my plant and put them in stem and all. It sure tasted and smelled of rosemary but it was overpowering and there was an acrid bitterness to it that just didn't work. Now that I think of it, maybe it's worth another try with much less and just the leaves!
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Re: What do you flavor your veggie ferments with?

Postby apshaitwister on Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:30 pm

Up til recently, I'd only ever made sauerkraut (pickles and pickled radishes being my most recent endeavors) and I've tended to stick to the spices introduced to me by a former boyfriend - caraway seed, black pepper, red chili flakes, dill seed, and celery seed. Sometimes I add all of the spices, sometimes just a combo of a few. Lately I've been omitting the spicy spices and sticking to the celery, dill, and caraway seeds. There are some pretty interesting ideas in here, though! I should probably try branching out.
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