Love your ferments – Chōsen guide to fermentation

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Creating a healthy microbiome inside our bodies is a key element of good health. Here, Josh Davies, Chōsen Executive Chef shares his recipe for making food your whole body will love you for.‘Living’ foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are back. And there are plenty of good reasons why we’re seeing them on the menus of health-conscious cafés right across Bali, and the world.The simple yet still somewhat mysterious process of fermentation has nutritional scientists and chefs sitting up and taking notice. This is not only because ferments taste great, but also because the process creates natural probiotics that protect us from illness and are incredibly beneficial for our physical and mental well-being.When vegetables and fruits are fermented, healthy bacteria get to work breaking down the hard-to-digest cellulose in foods, as well as some of the natural sugar, which turns them into micro miracles for your gut. We now know that gut health, or rather the lack of it, can be the source of many serious diseases.For all these reasons we are now adding house-pickled vegetables to many meals at Chōsen, packing in the probiotic power to our organic raw ingredients.You can find pickled and fermented vegetables in many good food stores, but they are also incredibly simple to prepare at home if you give them a little time. Here is a recipe to try out the magic of microbes for yourself.

Chōsen pickled vegetables

You’ll need:

  • 1 large Pot
  • 1 medium pot
  • Mason or other preserving jars, washed and sterilized

(Note: there are many good guides to safe ‘canning’ or sterilizing online. A basic rule, however, is to ensure your jars are washed in hot soapy water, rinsed, then oven-dried at 355°F/180°C for 15 minutes, or submerged in boiling water for around 20 minutes.)Brine mix:

  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 100ml organic apple cider vinegar
  • 300ml white vinegar
  • 500ml filtered water
  • 10g pink peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients into a medium pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Sterilize mason jars.
  3. Wash and cut vegetables - cut each vegetable into thin, same-size pieces.

The ideal vegetables for pickling include cabbage, fennel, zucchini/courgette , broccoli, kale, red onions and shallots, chili, ginger, leek, red or yellow peppers, and cauliflower.

  1. Fill mason jars with prepped vegetables (individually or mixed).
  2. Pour hot brine mix into mason jar/s. Fill to the top. Allow to cool to room temperature covered with a cloth. Once cooled cover with lid (keep it loosely closed, not tight).

Store in a cool dry place for five days. Remember to release excess gases each day by loosening, although not removing, the lids. Then store in a fridge with the lid properly closed. Vinegar used in the fermentation process is a natural preservative and will help the vegetables last a minimum of one month.See more Chōsen nutritious recipes here.

NutritionJosh Davies