by / Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lacto-Fermented Asparagus

I went a little crazy with the asparagus this Spring.  Each trip to the Farmer's Market yielded at least one bundle of beautiful spears...be it long, thin and green...or thick and purple...or ghostly white...I was really feeling the asparagus this year.  Luckily everybody around our place adores it.  When my pal Diana shared her recipe for lacto-fermenting asparagus, I knew that was a must on my list!  With all the cheesemaking I do successfully or not, I have plenty of whey on hand to use for the process of lacto-fermenting...talk about fate.  Fermentation is a chemical reaction in which sugars are broken down into smaller molecules that can be used in living systems, according to Dictionary dot com.  To read a little more about it, check out Diana's lacto-ferment post!  Okay, I am totally tootin' Diana's horn here, aren't I!? That's okay, she totally deserves it...she's such an inspiration.

Lacto-Fermented Asparagus
adapted slightly from this recipe from Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa...using what I had on hand

•1 bunch asparagus, cut in half...or even thirds if it is long and thin and rinsed
•2 long stalks of spring onions, sliced
•a few sprigs fresh parsley, rinsed
•1/2 TBS. black peppercorns
•1/2 TBS. coriander seeds
•1 TBS. sea salt
•1/4 c. whey (If you do not have whey, feel free to add 1 tbls extra sea salt)
• filtered water (must be filtered as chlorine will disrupt the fermentation process)

1.In a quart sized mason jar, add the asparagus, spears down.
2.Add the parsley in between the asparagus spears.
3.Add the onion, peppercorn and coriander seeds.
4.Add the filtered water, sea salt and whey. Make sure you add enough water to cover and 1" from the top of the jar.
5.Cover and shake it up, making sure everything is underneath the liquid.
6.Allow to ferment in a dark cool place for 3 days up to two weeks (or more).
7. Store in refrigerator after initial ferment. It will continue to ferment once in fridge, but at a much slower rate.

Pack everything into jar

Leave an inch of headroom...I didn't, even though I knew I should have...I just put it inside a container to catch the bit of overflow I knew would come from the fermentation process.

Ready to set aside in a cool, dark place for fermentation

After fermentation...that fade to army green...num, num

Delicious served with farm fresh poached eggs (sprinkled w/ a little Wild Porcini sea salt) and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf.

I think fermenting this way tastes a bit different than if it were pickled in vinegar...milder, sweeter... Give it a try!  If you want some whey and don't have any on hand, you can always join us over at Forging Fromage where we make our own cheese every month...you're guaranteed to have some whey in no time!

Heather is a Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, dark beer, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.


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