That means that daylight savings is just around the corner (yay!), days are getting longer and mornings are getting warmer.
But even with all that happening, with the promise of the abundance that inevitably comes with the warmer weather, the humble zucchini is still over $8 a kilo in our shops right now…
Soon enough though the prices will come down, and even better, I’ll have crazy, abundant zucchini plants in my veggie garden and I’ll be back to making lacto-fermented zucchini with the same gusto as last summer. (And man, did we consume a pile of this stuff last year!)So, last summer I really was committed to making the most of the abundant zucchinis over the last few months of the warmer weather, and I was using them in everything. But it wasn’t until I made some fermented cucumber pickles for the first time that I suddenly realised I might be able to ferment zucchinis in the same way!
I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, so I made a small batch at first and was elated to discover that they were amazing! Even hubby loves them, and he’s not as much of a fan of all things fermented as I am.
So I began leaving some of my zucchinis on the plant to get a bit bigger than usual, specifically for fermenting. Then when I prepared them, I just removed the fleshy seedy center, leaving the much firmer exterior to be fermented. (I discovered that the seedy centre tends to go a bit mushy).
With the center removed, these fermented zucchini pieces remain quite firm. They’re sour and a little spicy and really quite yummy. And like most ferments, they’re also really easy to make.
- 2 large zucchinis or several smaller ones
- 3 grape leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons of pickling spices
- 3 or 4 small red chilies
- 4 large teaspoons chopped dill leaves (or seeds)
- 2 tablespoons Himalayan salt
- 4 cups filtered (chlorine free) water
- Wash and slice zucchinis lengthways, removing the seedy centre,
- Pack the sliced zucchini and grape leaves into a large jar, adding garlic, chilies, dill and spices. NOTE: Keep one large grape leaf to cover the mixture while fermenting.
- Combine filtered water and salt to make brine then pour over the zucchini, ensuring that the zucchini is submerged under the brine.
- Cover the contents of the jar with the remaining grape leaf, ensuring it also is submerged under the brine. (You may need to push it down regularly during the fermentation process to ensure it stays under the brine).
Allow to ferment on your bench for one week or longer.
- A taste test will tell you when it’s ready! Once ready, refrigerate and enjoy.
If the mixture doesn’t remain under the brine during fermentation, you may find mold on the top. Check it regularly. If you get a little mold or funky looking stuff on the top of your ferments, you can often just remove it and the contents below will still be okay. Use your senses to tell you if it’s okay. If it smells bad or looks really bad further down in the jar, put it in the compost!
I find when using grape leaves, I often get a white ‘moldy’ looking substance on the top of the ferment. This is not mold, but instead it is a yeast from the grape leaves. I have found that this is not a problem. I simply remove it.
Susie Wilson is a Mum, a writer, a health buff and a bit of a self confessed food-a-holic! Susie has a passion for learning about, creating and of course eating healthy foods. She enjoys sharing recipes, ideas and information about the foods she loves and the things she’s discovered about healthy eating and living. (Contact Author)