More Failed Experiments – Fermenting Edition

Brined Carrots

Brined CarrotsI had some extra carrots in the fridge that needed to be used up so I thought I’d experiment with fermenting veggies in a brine. “Everyone” is doing it and it couldn’t be easier– mix salt and water, submerge veggies, wait. I decided to use this recipe because isn’t her website pretty? And aren’t her images eye catching? I should have compared this recipe with others, such as this one. If I had, I might have realized that one Tablespoon of salt per cup of water is A LOT OF SALT. I bet you can guess my results. Yep, carrots that taste like you just swallowed a mouth full of sea water. Yuck.

Thankfully I only made a little jar so I didn’t waste much. I do plan on trying this again with much, much less salt.

Fermented Hot SauceOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Technically this experiment is ongoing so I won’t call it a failure yet, but based on how it smells I don’t have high hopes for it. I can’t actually remember which recipe I used but basically I just pureed a bunch of jalapenos and cayenne peppers in my magic bullet, added some salt and stuffed it all into a glass jar. I didn’t have a real airlock at the time so I used plastic wrap with a weight on top. This was where I made my biggest mistake– I don’t think I had it set up quite right and it wasn’t as air tight as it should have been. It may have been contaminated by who knows what. Since the recipe I was using (and have since misplaced) said to let it ferment for a month I’m going to give it another week or two just in case something miraculous happens. I’d like to try this again but I think I’ll try fermenting the peppers whole like in this recipe ,  using whey to jump start the fermentation so it doesn’t take as long (more time fermenting = more opportunities for something to go wrong!) and using a proper airlockHot Peppers

Sweet, Sad, Mushy Cake

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Remember that “Amish Friendship Bread Starter” that everyone’s mom had in a plastic bag on the counter in the 90s? It turns out that that mushy monster was actually a “Mother Culture” or “Starter” like all these other crazy experiments I’ve been doing. Ideally I’d like to get a starter from someone whose been keeping one alive for years (or decades, even!) but until I find one I decided to make my own using these instructions. The starter itself isn’t a failure, I don’t think, but my first batch of bread using it was! Actually, I didn’t make bread. I made cake. I wasn’t in the mood for kneading bread so I thought, cake will be easy. Unfortunately I had forgotten that I cannot make cake. I’m not sure what I do wrong but it seems like every time I try to make cake I end up with liquid middles and burnt edges. I had the same problem with the pound cake I made earlier this summer though it ended up tasty enough that the burnt edges were worth cutting off. This time I made one big loaf rather than two smaller ones which made the problem much worse (imagine a lake in the middle of my bread, rather than a small pond). And the flavor is just kind of “eh” which makes the textural problems more noticeable. Its still edible and makes a decent vehicle for cream cheese but certainly isn’t what I’d hoped for.

2014-08-30 19.09.30 2014-08-31 02.55.22

Next time I’m asking Chris to make  bread, his loaves always turn out perfect.

 

 

Remember that I am not an expert at food preservation, so while you are welcome to be inspired by my experiments please do you research on safe food preservation techniques first!

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