It’s a book title and more than a suggestion: Ferment Your Vegetables, by blogger and author Amanda Feifer, is one of our favorite back-to-basics guides on all things pickled, fermented and cured. If you’ve got cabbage just itching to become something more, cucumbers that yearn for a brighter, tarter future, or any other vegetable just bursting with sour potential, this is the book for you.
Although “bánh mì“ actually means “bread” in Vietnamese, in the U.S., the term generally refers to the delightful sandwich that perfectly aligns many wonderful flavors and textures. Unsurprisingly, my favorite part of a bánh mì sandwich is the pickled mix of daikon and carrot that provides texture, moisture, and loads of flavor. This fermented version is nontraditional, with less sweetness and more flavor than the typical blend found in sandwich shops. If you want the sweeter version on your sandwich, toss the finished pickles with two teaspoons of sugar per cup just before serving.
Although washing vegetables in cool water is great, peeling vegetables for fermentation is a no-no. The majority of the bacteria necessary for fermentation live on the skins of vegetables. A peeled vegetable may fail to ferment, or it may ferment extraordinarily slowly, leading to issues with texture or mold.
- 1 daikon, about 1 pound
- 4 carrots, about 1 pound
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 1/2 cloves garlic, peeled
For the pickles
Julienne the daikon and carrots. Place in a bowl and toss with the salt.
Slice the jalapeño lengthwise into two equal halves. Set it aside.
Thinly slice the garlic and toss it in with the root mixture.
After sitting with the salt for a short while, the carrots and daikon will have released some moisture. Take a small handful of the now damp vegetables and pack them into a quart jar. Lay 1 jalapeño half cut-side against the side of the jar, push the pointed end into the vegetable mixture at the bottom of the jar, and pack the roots in around it. Once the pepper is held in place, put the other jalapeño half against another side of the jar and pack more daikon carrot mixture around it until all of the vegetables are in the jar and the jalapeño halves are pressed against the sides of the jar.
Press down on the vegetables in the jar to draw the maximum amount of brine to the surface.
Using your preferred method, submerge your veggies and cover your jar.
Place your jar on a small plate or bowl and allow to ferment at room temperature for 1 week or until the desired acidity is achieved.
Once you’re happy with the flavor and acidity, remove the weight, secure the lid, and place the jar in the fridge.