Eating Seasonal Produce
Nothing tempts my taste buds more than a salad from freshly-picked greens and cucumbers straight from the vine. Or, a butternut squash loaded with butter, fresh from the oven. Reasons abound for eating seasonal produce. Read on for not just the why’s, but also how to give it an extra punch with fermentation.
Posted by Mary
Do you follow seasonal eating? Around our home, I try to keep things in line with nature as much as possible, that includes striving for natural eating habits. Not only does this help keep my family healthy, but eating seasonal produce is also very frugal. Have you ever noticed the price comparison of seasonal vegetables to those which are out of season?
How does seasonal eating play into lacto-fermentation? Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to do with seasonal vegetables. They can easily be included into meals, but I also love to ferment them whenever possible.
Here are a few reasons for eating seasonal produce:
- First and foremost, the taste is so much better. Have you ever enjoyed a fresh, juicy tomato right off the vine? Now, compare that to the taste of a tomato found in the middle of winter. Definitely not the same.
- Secondly, there are a lot more nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are grown in season. Foods that are grown out of season need preservatives, waxes, pesticides and other chemicals to keep them looking fresh and healthy. Which in my opinion, just doesn’t sound healthy.
- Third, eating in season is frugal. Take some time to comparison shop during each season. Your wallet will thank you.
There are also a couple of things to consider, like most fruits and some veggies have higher sugar content than most root vegetables. Higher sugar content speeds up the fermentation process.
Certain fruits like apples, for example can be used to make apple cider vinegar. Others can be fermented to make wine.
Microbes are found on the skin of fruits and vegetables, so it is important to keep them intact for the fermentation process. When fermenting winter squash, however, most of the skins are inedible and must be peeled before creating your ferments. I have found it helpful to add a piece of the skin in with my ferments or including the squash with other vegetables that can have the skins intact.
Here is one of my favorite winter season lacto-fermented recipes.
Spicy Fermented Sweet Potato Slaw
- 2 medium/large sweet potatoes
- 2 medium carrots
- 1-inch fresh ginger
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tbsp. red pepper flakes
- 1-3 tbsp. sea salt
- Wash sweet potatoes, carrots and ginger well and shred, keeping the skins on.
- Peel and chop onion finely; peel and slice garlic thinly.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and pound lightly for a minutes until natural juices begin to form.
- Add all ingredients to a Mason jar and press down firmly to allow juices to rise to the top. If you don’t have enough natural juices on top of the ferments, add a little filtered water. It is important for your ferments to remain below the brine to prevent bad bacteria from forming; add the glass weight on top of your ferments to help aid in this step.
- Allow to ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days. You can extend this time until desired flavor is achieved. If you aren’t using an airlock, be sure to burp your jar occasionally. But, of course, we recommend that you use a complete Fermentools kit.
- Once fermentation has been achieved, use refrigerator safe lid and transfer to cold storage.
Try this sweet potato slaw as a condiment on meat sandwiches, atop a salad or as part of a relish tray at your next family gathering.
If you have not tried using Fermentools, I encourage you to visit our store and see what all the talk is about. Our lids fit a standard, wide-mouth Mason jar and are made of surgical steel. Also included in the starter kit is an airlock, rubber ring, two stoppers, glass weight and a bag of Himalayan salt.
Mary is a city girl from L.A who reluctantly married a real life cowboy, gave up the life and career she knew for a simple, rural life in Nebraska. Here they raise three young children, several goats, chickens, ducks and guineas. They focus on natural living, healthy eating, organization, minimalism, simplicity and their traditional Catholic faith. Mary blogs at Boots and Hooves Homestead.