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Preserving Food the Hygge Way!

I’m a serious hygge enthusiast with an adventurous spirit and for some time now have been on a journey to start living simply and with a greater sense of overall ‘connection’.  Not only have I started to become less ‘rushed’, I grounded myself through growing an edible organic garden, connecting with local farmers, eating mindfully and of course bringing in more traditional culinary wisdom into my kitchen, my home and my life.

In recent years, I became a serious lover of all things fermented (wine of course has always been one of them), but I’m talking about kombucha, fermented vegetables, kimchi, sauerkraut and anything of the kind! I started eating ferments to help heal some unwanted gut related issues, but quickly grew into a hobby and for a short period a small business.  People all over the world are trading the old-school preservation method (aka pickling & canning) for fermenting, a simpler method that makes vegetables even more nutritious and delicious. In fact, fermenting foods dates to thousands of years ago well before fancy canning and pickling systems arrived.

What makes fermenting so popular? First off, it requires no special equipment and minimal prep time — choose your vegetables, place them in salty water, seal them up, and wait. That’s all!  To top it off, fermenting vegetables can provide you with an enormous amount of gut health benefits (you’ll find dozens of articles in a quick google search).

When I learned about fermenting foods, I didn’t know that preserving foods is a favourite Scandinavian pastime, but knowing what I know about hygge, I can see why.  What I love is not only the result of a tasty healthy treat, but it’s when friends are gathered around the kitchen island working away to make beautuful instagram worthy jars as a collective effort.  We’re taking on timeless skills and wisdoms from our ancestors and bringing them to life in an intimate and very hygge way.  

One of the easiest ways to make fermented foods is by seeing what you already have in your fridge and go from there.  I love using 1″ chunks of carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets and small brussel sprouts as they tend to produce a good crunch!  If time is tight, a few bags of organic baby carrots will do the trick.

Recipe

  • 3–4 cups cut vegetables, or enough to fill a quart jar
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional OR coarse ground black pepper
  • Other optional seasonings: dill, oregano, thyme – see other combos below
  • 2 Tablespoons high quality sea salt (never iodized table salt)
  • 1 qt. filtered water

Quick flavour combos to try:

  • 4 garlic cloves, fresh cilantro, peppercorns, hot pepper flakes and sea salt (2 tbsp)
  • 4 garlic cloves, fresh dill, peppercorns and sea salt (2 tbsp)
  • 4 garlic cloves, cumin seeds, curry powder and 2 tbsp sea salt

Tips:

  • After adding all ingredients into 1 qt. mason jars, cover the vegetables in spring water (I never use chlorinated tap water for fermenting as the chlorine can have a negative effect on the good bacteria being developed in the jar).
  • Before sealing the lids add a piece of cabbage leaf to the top to keep the vegetables submerged under the water and reduce the chance of mold forming and seal the lid tightly.
  •  Leave the jars out on kitchen counter for about 7 to 10 days before putting them into the fridge for cold storage.  “Burp” the bottom of the jars to help release any gases formed as a result of the fermentation process.
  • As well, at times, jars may leak slightly from the cap as the gas pressure rises; place the jars on a plate or baking tray to catch any drippings.

Have fun trying the endless options when making your ferments! And don’t forget to invite your friends over to have a hygge fermenting party!