25th Nov 2010

Secondary Fermentation - Pickling with Ferments as the Brine

A letter from the Pickling Pal Mailbag noted that some of the recipes offered didn’t seem to produce much pickling action—no noticeable bubbles seen through the glass jar. Introducing another form of lacto-fermentation. Sometimes known as secondary fermentation or indirect fermentation, we use fermented liquids as the main brine ingredient.

It is interesting to note most Asian and Indochinese cultures do not use table salt directly on their food. Instead they create fermented sauces with salt as the fermentor. You know some of them as soy sauce, fish sauce, miso, tamari. Vinegar is not lacto-fermented, but is also used to pickle food. They can be used in combination.

These fermented sauces work well in brine pickling fermentors. There is one fine example in your Perfect Pickler Instruction-Recipe Booklet and duplicated in our web-based recipe section. East-West Pickled Onions make a great pickled condiment by using soy sauce and brown rice vinegar. This recipe is designed to be a live-culture recipe so you need to use the types of liquids that have not been pasteurized. This is not as common in the modern, global pantry. Most makers pasteurize their sauces. Not to worry—there are products that meet our needs. Check with your local health-food store to locate. Some brands list their product as unpasteurized, otherwise it is not always discernible. I like a few brands and list them in the resource section at the end of the newsletter.

brines.jpgThe East-West Pickled Onion recipe creates an utterly delicious sauce after fermentation to be used in stir-fry and dipping sauces. I love to add it along with some of the minced pickled onion in scrambled eggs or tofu. Use it on plain cooked grains with minced chives or scallions and you have a fermented sauce and condiment to liven the dish.

Use to marinate chicken, tofu, fish, and pork by mixing a teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to a quarter cup of the brine. Coat the protein and let it rest for a half-hour or so, then cook as part of a stir-fry to include other Asian vegetables, like bok choy, scallions, ginger.

Sources for unpasteurized soy sauce:

Selina Naturally

Goldmine Natural Foods

Kushi Store