Leekchi & Lacto-Fermentation
We absolutely love to ferment here on the farm. For us it is a perfect way to preserve harvested produce in the peak production months and enjoy the yields of our labor in colder and less productive times. It is a method that allows us to keep eating local even when 'the season' has long passed. Fermentation is one of the oldest and most interesting methods of processing and preserving food. Lacto-fermentation is a specific type of fermentation that utilises lactic acid producing bacteria to preserve foods. This technique of preserving food does not only increase the shelf life but it also has a lot of health benefits.
Fermented foods are consumed all around the world by many different cultures and have been for thousands of years. The idea is that the more friendly bacteria we have in our gut the better our overall health. This blog post will show you how we preserved and fermented some of our winter leeks and how you can make your own super tasty ferments!
1.5kg sliced leeks
4 tsp sea salt
4 large cloves of diced garlic
2 tbsp grated ginger
4 tsp of Korean chilli pepper
1. Firstly, chop your leeks into thins slices. Make sure you wash the leeks properly, as mud can collect in-between the layers. Cut the top 4 -6 inches of the leeks off and remove the bottom root section.
2. Throw the sliced leeks and the sea salt into a large mixing bowl and massage the mixture for about 10 minutes, until the juices start to come out of the leeks. Leave on the side for 30 minutes to allow all the juices to ooze out.
3. Add the additional flavourings and mix well.
(For this run I only used 1tsp of Korean pepper, instead of the listed 4tsp - I will be using this particular leekchi in a nettle soup for a dining experience next month and wanted to hold off on the spice to ensure the delicate flavour of the nettles comes out).
4. Fill a glass jar with the mixture, making sure that the contents are completely covered by the liquid. If the contents are not completely covered, lacto-fermentation will not take place and the leekchi will go mouldy!
5. When the fermentation starts, air will rise and the mixture will be pushed up. This can be avoided by weighing the contents down with a smaller jar that fits into the top of the main fermentation vessel - I use an empty gu pot!
6. Leave the Leekchi at room temperature (18-25 degrees) for 7 days - out of direct sunlight. The fermentation process will be finished when the bubbles stop.
7. Close the jar, keep in the fridge and enjoy for up to 6 months!!
We love to use the leekchi as part of salads, on toast, in curry's and also in soups!
This method can also be used for many different vegetables, not just leeks. Try replacing the leeks with carrots, cabbage and even onions.