Friday, September 5, 2014

Fermented Green Bean Pickles

This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken, lamb, and pork cuts from Fair Valley Farm and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings:  

lots of corn (make savory corn pudding)
watermelon, cantaloupes, peaches, and Italian prune plums (nice waffle toppings)
Gravenstein apples, Asian pears and bartlett pears from SLO farm (put on pizza)
lots of tomatoes, including cherries and flats of romas (restock your sauce supply)
sweet and hot peppers of all kinds (use in bean pickles)
green and yellow beans (make bean pickles)
eggplants and broccoli (try these grilled eggplant dips)
fennel, cucumbers, and tomatillos (make pan roasted tomatillo salsa
potatoes, baby beets, kohlrabi, carrots, and daikon radish (make banh mi)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and zucchini (bake a gratin)
cabbage (green, red, savoy) (great in slow cooker soup)
radicchio, chard, kale, lettuce, including bagged mix (make kale Salade Lyonnaise)
garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill

Having experimented with fermenting cabbage, wheat, and cream, I thought I'd try my hand at some fermented green bean pickles. I followed the general guidelines for fermented yard-long beans from Liana Krissoff's Canning for a New Generation, but added some of Sweetwater Farm's cherry bomb peppers, garlic, and chives for flavoring.  

Just as with these other ferments, I was amazed at how easily I could harness the Lactobacillus workhorses of the microbial world. Within a week of resting on my counter, quietly bubbling away, my beans had transformed into tart and sour pickles, infused with spiciness and the sharp flavors of garlic and chives, the perfect accompaniment for a corn, summer squash and millet succotash, a green salad, and my latest loaf of sourdough bread.

Fermented Green Bean Pickles
adapted from Canning for a New Generation, makes one quart
8 ounces green beans
6 cloves garlic
2 or 3 spicy peppers, such as cherry bombs
12 chives
1/4 cup pure kosher salt
8 cups water

Wipe off the beans, trim the stem ends, and cut into 1 inch lengths. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Stem, seed, and chop the peppers. Chop the chives into 1 inch lengths. Place all the ingredients into a clean quart-sized mason jar, preferably wide mouthed. Combine the salt and water in a large pitcher and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the beans in the mason jar, and place the jar in a bowl. Pour the remaining brine into a gallon-sized resealable bag, seal, and place the bag on top of the beans in the jar such that the bag covers the jar mouth and submerges the beans into their brine. Cover the container with a clean towel and let the beans ferment at room temperature. After a couple of days, you should see the fermentation process happening as small bubbles form along the beans. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Taste the beans and continue fermenting until they are the desired sourness, about one week. Seal and refrigerate in the brine for several weeks, or drain and freeze in freezer bags for up to 6 months.

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