Happy Fermentation Friday! Today is storytime.
For me mason jar fermentation is a black hole. Where things go to die, become compost, or scattered in the backyard hoping animals will take it away.
My problem is I don’t do it often enough or ever if I’m honest. You know I’m a Harsch Crock/TSM kinda girl from my How to Make Raw Fermented Sauerkraut post and many subsequent posts. It’s foolproof and low maintenance.
Almost a year and a half ago I was at a writer’s retreat (never finished posting about that) and another lovely woman there was a fermenter. Can you believe it? What are the odds? She brought her own fermented asparagus, purple cabbage kraut, and little green tomatoes.
Every single one was delicious and pickle-y and they were all done in mason jars. For reals tho, green tomatoes? What happens when you have a ton leftover after the season and they might frost? Ferment them. It works and they’re delicious!
I came back inspired. I was going to try mason jar fermenting for the first time since 2009. I gathered my asparagus, calculated my salt brine, and figured out a lid contraption.
I’m not sure where things went wrong. I went about a week plus a few days. It was late fall so the weather was cooler—meaning it wasn’t hot or muggy inside—but they just came out bad.
How did I know they were bad?
They didn’t taste pickle-y or good. They tasted off. I didn’t get sick or anything, but I also didn’t try to eat a lot of them.
What would I do differently in the future?
Not exactly sure, but please let me know if you have any suggestions or recommended reading. I want to try asparagus again soon as we are in the middle of fresh asparagus season and organic is readily available from many local sources. This time around I would try the airlock method with a pickler attachment of some sort.
How do I track progress?
I take pictures for visual reference as well as tracking the date and time (thank you technology). I wish I took notes, but I have a million notebooks laying around and chances are I wouldn’t know which one had the notes I needed. Maybe I need a dedicated fermenting book to go with my dedicated recipe book.
Day 1. I washed approximately 0.6 pounds of asparagus, trimmed the ends, and slid them into a half-gallon mason jar. I also added 2 sprigs of fresh oregano. I calculated my salt at 3/4 tablespoon based on asparagus weight and blended it with enough water to pour over the asparagus.
In 2009 I loosely covered ball jars with tinfoil, but this time I used a little ramekin that fit just right. I think I filled it with water to weight it down. It encouraged brine to cover the asparagus, but still allowed a little bit of air out.
I set it all in a cereal bowl with a paper towel to catch any overflow and put it in a dark corner to rest.
Day 2. Things looked pretty good. Really good actually.
Day 3. A little coloring near the top, but all of that seemed normal.
A few days after I switched to a mason jar lid and I think I stuck a little metal pickler dish inside to keep the asparagus below the brine. Not sure if that was a good idea or not.
Even later. Colors changed a bit. All of that is normal.
Well that’s all of the pictures I have. Do you have a fermenting fail? Let’s commiserate in the comments section. The worst part about it all is the ‘waste’ of vegetables. ugh! xx