Fermented Vegetables–A Book Review
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Posted by Colleen
Book Review of Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes, & Pastes, by Kirsten K. Shockey & Christopher Shockey
Fermenting has become a popular way to preserve foods in recent years, for good reason. People often begin their journey into fermented foods by fermenting vegetables, mainly because of its simplicity and accessibility. If anyone ever asks me about how to get started with fermenting, I always suggest they give sauerkraut a try, probably because that’s precisely how I started. From there, people generally branch out into the vegetable world further, fermenting their favorites or whatever they happen to have an abundance of.
Of all the books written on fermentation, Fermented Vegetables by Kristen and Christopher Shockey is one of my favorites. The Shockey’s are fermentation legends in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. They went from fermenting veggies at home for fun, to having a full-fledged commercial kitchen where they made jars of fermented goodies to sell at local farmers markets. That venture only lasted a few good years before they decided they would rather teach people how to ferment vegetables instead. So, they wrote the book and started teaching some local fermenting classes.
When I first discovered Fermented Vegetables, I wondered what more could be said on the topic of fermenting vegetables alone. I mean, all you do is submerge veggies in a saltwater brine, put a weight on top, cover with a an airlock, and wait a couple of weeks, right? While all of that is true, this book is a gem that both inexperienced and seasoned fermenters will enjoy.
The first few chapters go over the basics of fermenting, including “visual guides” with step-by-step photos of several popular ferments such as sauerkraut, brine pickles and kimchi. A large portion of the book is devoted to recipes on fermenting vegetables—with everything from arugula to zucchini. A special section on fermenting foraged vegetables—not something often seen in other books—is a great addition for those of us who like to wildcraft.
The best part about this book, in my opinion, is the section titled “On the Plate.” Full of recipes on how to actually use all of your vegetable ferments, it has recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, happy hour and even desserts! A few that immediately jump out at me: Smokey Kraut Quiche, Brine Crackers (made with leftover brine), Tempeh Reuben, Kimchi (bloody) Mary, Kraut-a-kopita (spanakopita) and Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Coconut Kefir Glaze. Don’t those all sound delicious?
All in all, I think this is an excellent book. It has given me many new ideas, right when I thought I had done it all. I have made several of the recipes with great results, and have plans to make many more. Honestly, it has become a fermenting go-to for me, for ideas and inspiration. I think you will love this book!
Fermentools wants to be there for you as you begin your fermenting journey. To get off on the right foot, please continue reading with other posts. And to get the best tools on the market for fermenting vegetables, visit our online store.
Colleen has been foraging for wild food and fermenting for many years. She loves all types of fermenting, including making lactofermented veggies, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and sourdough. She also has a special fondness for brewing hard cider and mead (honey wine). Along with her husband Joel, they grow much of their own food and herbs in a permaculture style garden. She makes and sells handmade herbal salves and lip balms in her Etsy shop, CocosHerbals, and writes about all of her adventures with food, gardening and homesteading at growforagecookferment.com.