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Getting Pickled

So, lately, I’ve had a few experimental fermentations going on.

One of them is a simple revisiting of the sauerkaraut I made last year. It’s a much smaller batch, and made with non-iodized salt, but with one difference:

Yeah, I used red cabbage. I salted it in exactly the way I had the white cabbage, but to my surprise, the cabbage didn’t sweat as much, and there wasn’t much brine. Probably it’s because I used only one small head of red cabbage, not two very large heads of green cabbage. In any case, the problem was easy to solve: I just made a 2.5% salt brine, and added it to the container. When we turned on the floor heating system, I forgot to move it; this may have accelerated the fermentation, but it may also have inhibited certain microflora — and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it’s smelling rather sulphuric, so I figure it’s likely not too bad. I’ve moved the container to a cool dark place this morning.

The other fermentation I have going on is pickling onions. We managed to buy some “baby onions” the other day, and I figured I would pickle them. This was very simple: I peeled the onions and put some non-iodized salt on them, to parch them a little. After that, I peeled a few cloves of garlic, got my bottle of rice vinegar, and dumped the onions and garlic into the vinegar, along with some commercial dried pickling spices. For the next time, I think I’ll use my own blend of dried spices.

For this, I used one of the little pickle-press jars we got in Japan, and I am happy to say it is doing its job wonderfully: the onions filled up most of the jar at first, but as they pickled, they we pushed down deeper and deeper into the jar. I could top up with some more, if I can find another bag of baby onions around, and I’d like to do so, but I also have some purple onions of the same size — which I’m planning to pickle in the other little pickle-press jar, perhaps in some German apple cider vinegar we managed to find the other day.

I’d love to pickle something in malt vinegar, but I’ve not seen any in Korea. It’d be easy to make some, if I could get a vinegar culture, but I haven’t seen such a thing here. I imagine it must be possible — there are Korean commercial vinegar brands — but I have no idea where to find a “mother” culture for vinegar.

If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

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