Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sour Giardiniera

Giardiniera is a Italian Relish which is literally the end of the Harvest which is pickled for the Winter months.  Everything that is left at the end of the growing season goes into pickle jars, and get preserved for times when fresh vegetables are not available.  So we have some of this, and some of that, throw in some hot Chiles, and spices, then let them fermet until they are nomlishious.
Modern versions of Giardiniera are pickled are sterilized using the Acetic Acid Pasteurization process that is so popular right now, and that is a real pity.  So much is lost in the sterilization of these vegetables, the plant enzymes, the vitamins, and even the fiber is cooked until its useless.  I aim to change this.  So, I'm making Giardiniera with the Lactic Acid Fermentation process.  Preserve those Plant Enzymes, protect the Vitamins, and Fiber so that its nutrition can be transferred into our bodies, and not cooked off.
It is likely that the origins of the Lactic Acid Fermentation of Vegetation began at the sea.  Primitive man, knowing that Winter was coming, would take the end of the Harvest, pack it into some sort of vessel, cover it with Sea Water, and store it in a cool place, like a cave, or a hole in the ground.  I have encountered many stories like this concerning Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Pickles.  The Lactic Acid Fermentation food preservation process is likely as old as the human race, and perhaps older with other species.  The Salinity of seawater around 3.5%, which is perfect for a light brine.  Mine is 5% Salinity because I am being cautious, and don't want to accidentally start a bacterial infection, and make myself sick.  But, so far, I haven't had any ill effects.  In fact my fermented pickles make me feel better, and my stomach is happy.
The Classic Giardiniera has Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Sweet Chile (Bell Peppers), and Hot Chile, as well as a menagerie of spices.  It is mainly used as a garnish for sandwiches today, and here is where I am going to deviate.  I want something more like vegetable pickles, big pieces that can be used more like a side dish, rather than a garnish.
Here the Giardiniera has been fermenting on the counter top for almost a week.  The brine is developing the  cloudiness characteristic of the Lactobacilli culture which means the fermentation process is proceeding well.  The aroma of the Giardiniera is wonderful.  You can smell the vegetables, and spices clearly.  I am going to wait until the fermentation has been going for a week before I try them.  Then I'll put lids on the bottles, and put them in the refrigerator to calm the Lactobacilli, and let them age for a while.  Trying to be patient, aand waiting for Sunday to try them...

1 comment:

  1. Still finding time to do special things in your kitchen. You are amazing considering all the changes in your life recently. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Aunt L.