The Complete Guide to Pickling: Pickle and Ferment Everything Your Garden or Market Has to Offer by Julie Laing
As a full time Eco farmer, I was hoping for more recipes that didn't require refrigeration. Nourishing Traditions was my first introduction to fermentation which gave me the bug to learn more & lead me to Wild Fermentation. From there, I was making my own & never refrigerated anything. I'm still here, so I guess I did something right. I'm also not against canning something that has been pickled/fermented. It does kill some of the beneficial bacteria, but enough remain to have a healthy product, plus, the fermentation process increases the bodies ability to digest the food, so again, more nutrition even canned.
Another issue for me at least is that many recipes will only last a day or two in the fridge or even one or two weeks. Some last months, others up to a year (usually canned). Most though, seem rather perishable & need refrigeration. Like the author, I live in a tiny log cabin. Mine is a historic late 1700's log cabin. I have no room for anything. A second refrigerator has to reside in my main living space to store my finished ferments. As it is, we sometimes have to use an extra freezer & it sits next to the couch. It doesn't create a comfortable living space. I feel like I'm in my barn. I do what I can to put up the food I grow in ways that do not require an extra refrigerator or freezer.
I was initially excited about the title claiming I could "pickle and ferment everything my garden... has to offer". Nope. Almost, but not everything. The main thing I had in mind was parsnips. Maybe I'm crazy & parsnips aren't suitable for pickling or fermenting. I don't know. It's just that when you say, "everything" I'm expecting everything!
I am also disappointed in the lack of photos. I'm not talking food porn. I'm talking about photos that help the reader understand the process. For example, when discussing various molds, how about photos showing the types of molds? Photos in the troubleshooting section would be very helpful to newbies. I understood what the author was talking about thanks to experiencing these things, but what about the folks just getting started? Pictures help; a lot.
Chapter Two is Quick Pickles. All recipes are refrigerated to keep fresh.
The Japanese Style Pickled Cucumbers are delicious, but only hold for a mere 3 days in the refrigerator. It's so disappointing because you have to keep making it much too often for my tastes in order to continue to enjoy it. The Carrot and Daikon Radish is another I have tried & enjoyed. It will hold in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Which is an improvement.
Chapter Three is Fresh Pickles. This includes recipes for both canned & refrigerated produce. I will be trying the Water Bath-Processed Beets & Pickled Chive Blossoms next spring. I am in the process of making the Pickled Garlic Cloves which is super simple & hopefully turns out tasty (lasts months refrigerated). There is also a recipe for Sushi Ginger that I'm excited about. I love Gari & it will keep up to 6 months.
Chapter Four is Fermented Pickles. To me this is where the fun is really at. You have your traditional Sauerkraut, Apple and Cabbage Kraut, Classic Kimchi, etc. I made the Preserved Lemons which lasts 6 months in the refrigerator. What a delicious twist. I'm a citrus junkie & totally bonkers over lemon, so I am a bit biased, but I do hope you try it. There is even a Short Fermented Potato recipe. I wont be trying it, but this was a first for me. I don't eat nightshades, but for someone who does, it might be fun to try out.
Chapter Five is Relish, Hot Sauce, and Other Condiments. I haven't made anything out of this section yet. And I doubt I ever will. If you like it hot, she has a Fermented Red Hot Sauce & Chile Paste that might be right up your alley.
Chapter Six is Sweet and Fruity Pickles. There are some very interesting recipes in this. I like the option to put up some of my farms sweets without resorting to making jam or just canning whole/sliced, but none of these will last as long as I'd like. Miso Brined Apples (keeps 1 week refrigerated), Jerk Spiced Banana Pickles (keeps for weeks refrigerated), Sweet Spiced Black Berries (keeps for only 3 days refrigerated!), Sweet and Tart Blueberries - this uses lavender. I will be trying this out over the summer when my blueberries are ripe. It keeps for a couple of weeks refrigerated. I do wish it kept for longer.
Chapter Seven is Pickled Fish, Eggs, Beverages, and Other Odds and Ends. This is another fun section, but most recipes are to be consumed right away which is very disappointing. There are two pickled egg recipes. I love pickled eggs. They are so convenient. I think of them as a farmers fast food. Healthy & satisfying. They last about 10 days in the refrigerator. She also includes Shrubs. They are the closest thing to soda before soda. Shrubs are a lot of fun & they last for a couple of months refrigerated. There is also a Switchel recipe. This is great any time of the year, but right now with Covid19, it's even more reason to have some at hand. It utilizes apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger & lemon. So good. Super strong, but so good. Make up a batch of elderberry syrup to go along with it & keep your immune system strong. Switchel lasts about a month refrigerated (so does elderberry syrup), but you should go through it long before then.
I would also like to mention the physical book itself. The binding is a nightmare. I had to break the binding for virtually every page in order to get it to stay open. I love books & abhor damaging them, but with this book I had no choice. The spine is now a twisted mess. The publishers need to really think about this. Spiral bound or hard cover with binding that allows the book to lay flat would be much more realistic & appropriate.
While this isn't all I could have hoped for, it does have enough good recipes to help me add some variety to my crops which is always nice. If you have no experience with pickling or fermenting, you might want to try a book with more photos to help you out first, then go with this one. Or what the heck, you can always just jump right in with this book & see where it takes you.
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