by Jordan Laio, Networx
Home pickle-making is quite the rage right now. I use the term “pickle” in the broader sense, not to refer strictly to cucumber pickles, but as in vegetables preserved in brine. However, many people are not aware that there are two categories of pickles: The first is the more common sterile vinegar pickle, and the second, the live-culture lacto-fermented pickle.
The latter category is one of the oldest forms of preserving the harvest, and actually increases the nutrient content and digestibility of vegetables, and also increases immune system functionality. Types of lacto-fermented foods that you might be familiar with are kombucha, and dill pickles and sauerkraut which do not list “vinegar” as an ingredient.
To receive the maximum benefit from live-culture pickles, you should eat about a tablespoonful at least twice a day. It’s preventative medicine.
With lots of winter squash readily available, I thought I would present instructions for making a lacto-fermented winter squash pickle. These types of fermented foods require time and patience, but the end result just might amaze you.
What You’ll Need, in Addition to Normal Kitchen Utensils
- A wide mouth half-gallon jar or crock, made from glass, ceramic, or fermentation-grade plastic or stainless steel.
- A weight that fits inside the jar or crock. This can be a smaller jar filled with water, or a non-reactive stone (washed and boiled beforehand), or something else. The point is to keep the vegetables weighted below the brine.
- A cloth or paper towel to cover the top of the jar or crock so that bugs and dust don’t enter.
- A rubber band to secure the cloth.
- Smaller jars with lids to store your pickle when it is finished.