A few weeks ago, I learned how to lacto-ferment my first jar of peppers. Like so many other things at the farm, it was something I had always been curious about, wanted to try, but seemed so daunting that I always found an excuse to shelve it for another time.
And like so many other things at the farm, it was actually far easier, far more possible than I had thought.
We cut up a bunch of peppers and onions, threw those into a quart jar with some ginger and turmeric, inoculated the jar with brine from a previous batch Elinor had, and then filled it up with filtered water and a tablespoon of pink salt.
And then…I waited. For five anxious days, I hovered around my jar of potentially pickling peppers, looking out for any signs of mold or danger.
Finally, the day of reckoning was at hand. I twisted the top off, peered in, and…
There was my thriving colony of bubbling bacteria! I, with some trepidation I must admit, forked out a few peppers to see how they tasted.
Y’ALL, they were great. Still a little salty for my taste, but nothing a few more days of fermenting wouldn’t take care of. After about five more days, my peppers had the perfect amount of sourness to them, and so into the fridge they went.
It was such a revelation to me how easy the whole process was, and it reinforced for me yet again how distorted people’s idea of clean is, how distorted my idea of clean was before I started this program. A big lesson for me throughout this program has been to rethink what words like “clean” and “healthy” really mean, and to break my association of those words with the idea of sterility. Instead of needing to kill everything to make it “safe,” the process of lacto-fermenting reminded me that working with nature to create the right conditions often produces better and healthier outcomes.