Preserving The Harvest: Fermented Cucumbers and DYI Sun Dried Tomatoes
This time of the year is when gardeners often end up with lots of cucumbers and tomatoes after a late season harvest when the frost hits. Although you can freeze and can them, I like to preserve mine by fermenting and drying too. Things like cucumbers can be fermented (see recipe below). Not only are they simple and delicious to make, they are filled with healthy probiotics, good for gut health. I have fermented other veggies such as beets, carrots, cabbage, and radishes; I love them tossed into a salad, or as a tangy side dish.
Another method for preservation that I mentioned earlier, drying, is what I like to do with tomatoes. They make a delicious addition to salads and soups, or just as a snack! Home made sun dried tomatoes are the most flavorful you can find! All you need to do to make them is simply cut them into 1/2 inch thick wedges, and spread them out onto a lined dehydrator tray. Dry them for 24 hours at 115°F or until no moisture remains. Alternatively, spread them out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and place in a 200°F oven for 6-12 hours until dried. Store tomatoes in air tight containers or bags in the freezer or fridge.
Amy currently works in our deli contributing to the variety of healthful foods we offer. She graduated with a degree in studio art from Bethel University in 2007, but in her senior year of college, found that her passion was with the art of food. She later used her photography and culinary skills to create a vegan dessert and food blog, Fragrant Vanilla Cake. She is also a cookbook author, of the books Just Vegan Cakes, Fragrant Vanilla Cake: Sweet and Savory and Rawlicious Desserts. She specializes in raw, vegan and vegetarian recipes. Local,fresh and organic food has always been her focus in whatever she creates.
Place the cucumbers, garlic and salt in a clean jar, then add enough filtered water to fill it leaving a half inch at the top and making sure the cucumbers are submerged. Place in a dish, and let sit in a slightly warm area for 4-7 days until they are the texture/flavor that you prefer. Open the lid every few days to let out excess air, as it will create air as the cucumbers ferment, and you want to release it. The longer you let them sit, the softer and more sour they will become. Store in the fridge they are finished fermenting.*Variations: you can substitute other veggies for the cucumbers or mix them in, such as carrots, beets, cabbage, radishes. Just keep in mind they may take longer to ferment. You can also add in spices or herbs to flavor your fermented veggies.
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