Today I am excited to share a recipe with you for a fermented relish you can make at home. I love keeping homemade sauerkraut on hand through the year, and the same method can be used with other vegetables and fruits for a nice probiotic-rich side dish that will bring more flavor and interest to your meals. I make our ferments in a traditional fermentation crock, but you can also use glass jars. This is reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen.
Fennel, Kohlrabi, And Green Apple Relish
In August, apples make their first appearance in the mountains. It’s about this time that the year’s first kohlrabi are ready for picking, while the last of the summer’s fennel still lingers in the field. I like all three together, fermented into a sauerkraut-like relish with a subtle hint of apple and a potent licorice-like kick of fennel. I typically use tiny green apples—about the size of a golf ball—from the mystery tree in my farmer’s front yard, but any green apple will do nicely.
Makes about 1 quart
6 fennel bulbs with fronds
2 small green apples (about 8 ounces), cored and finely chopped
31/2 teaspoons finely ground unrefined sea salt
Trim the kohlrabi of their leaves and stems, then peel them. Slice them thinly into matchsticks about 2 inches long by 1/8 inch thick. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
Remove and discard the long stalks of the fennel bulbs, but reserve about 1/2 cup of loosely packed fronds. Chop the fronds finely, and then slice the fennel bulbs no thicker than 1/8 inch. Add the sliced bulbs and chopped fronds to the bowl with the kohlrabi.
Toss the apples and salt into the bowl and knead the ingredients with your hands until they release their juice. Layer the mixture into a quart-sized fermentation crock, 1 cup at a time. Pack it tightly into the crock so that any air escapes and the ingredients release more of their juice. Continue packing and layering until you’ve added the entire contents of the mixing bowl to the crock. Pack down the ingredients once more to ensure that they are completely submerged in the brine and that the brine rests below the lip of the crock by at least 1 inch.
Close the crock and ferment at room temperature for 10 to 14 days before tasting. If you prefer a stronger or sourer flavor, continue fermenting until done to your liking, testing every 3 to 5 days. Transfer to the refrigerator, root cellar, or other place of cold storage once the relish achieves the level of sourness you prefer and use within 6 months.
Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).
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