As a kid, one of my fondest memories is of my Great Aunt Edna Federinko’s dill pickles. They were cold fermented, and everyone called them “Russian dills.” I don’t know what about them made them Russian (other than her lineage), but I do remember how wonderfully crisp they were, and that they would literally fizz when you bit into them. They were heaven on earth.
Sadly, Great Aunt Edna took the recipe to her grave long before it occurred to me that I could learn how to make these pickles. I’ve never tasted any as good since. I’ve tried several times to ferment my own, but no luck so far.
I’ve been looking into sustainability and “homesteading” more and more in the last year or so. Part of it is my fascination with apocalypse scenarios, of course, in games and film. The other half of it is just wanting to exert more control over what’s in the food we eat. The more I read about over-dyed, over-preserved food, the more it entices me to make things myself to whatever degree I’m capable. I’ve been making my own yogurt, and with the help of a yogurt incubator, I’ve been nailing it. And then I stumbled across the FARMcurious Fermenting Set on Kickstarter. I backed it immediately, and the kit just arrived in the mail this past weekend.
I’m not expecting I can make those legendary pickles with these, but I think it will be a helpful step to successfully ferment SOMETHING. Specifically, I’m going to start with the gingered carrots recipe the set came with in one jar, and green beans in the other. The directions look incredibly simple, too. Just pack in some veggies, and fill the jars up with a salt water solution. Then stow it away somewhere cool and dark for a month.
I’m also very excited to have discovered FARMcurious, because it describes what I’ve been wanting to do perfectly. I also signed up for a virtual fermenting class, and I’m very intrigued that they do cheesemaking too. I’ve made ricotta before, and it’s delightful, but if I could make more challenging cheeses and Russian dills, I think I’d be pretty content with my accomplishments in life.
Tags: cooking, environment, homesteading