Early last December, I stopped by the farmers market and picked up the very last jalapeños of the season, all red and green. They seemed like an anomoly, something you'd expect in late summer lingering a season late at the market.
I took them home, popped them into my fermentation crock let them alone for a few months. Fermentation is a long process, and slow, too.
Why Pickle with Fermentation?
Pickling is a method of preserving foods either through fermenting them in brine, or immersing them in vinegar. Either way, it's the acid that preserves them.
When they're fermented, beneficial bacteria eat up the carbohydrates naturally found in the vegetables, and transform those carbohydrates into lactic acid which, in turn, preserves the vegetables just as vinegar would - with one key difference: the process of fermentation increases key nutrients like B vitamins.
Where to Find a Fermentation Jar
Fermenting vegetables in a crock or jar designed to minimize airflow. They keep oxygen out, while allowing the carbon dioxide that naturally builds up during fermentation to escape.
Large crocks (like these) are designed to ferment several gallons of vegetables like sauerkraut or sour pickles at a time. For small batches of fermented vegetables, like these brine-pickled jalapeños, glass jars equipped with airlocks (you can buy them here) work particularly well.
- 2 tablespoons finely ground real salt
- 4 cups warm water
- 8 ounces jalapeños
- 4 cloves garlic
- Dissolve the salt into a pitcher holding four cups warm water. Allow the water to cool to room temperature.
- Drop the peppers and garlic into a quart-sized fermentation jar, and then pour enough water into the jar to completely submerge them. Seal the jar, and allow it to sit at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, at least four weeks and up to eight weeks, or until the jalapeños achieve a sourness that you like. Transfer to a mason jar, and store in the refrigerator up to six months.