Leftover whey for lacto-fermentation
Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?
We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown. I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me. And delicious.
This takes a couple of weeks to come to fruition but the prep takes minutes. I’m a newbie to the fermenting world; as I’ve said before, despite loving food working in food and constantly thinking about what food is coming next, I can confess to some neophobia. But 2019 is the year that, quite frankly, I’m just plain bored with being too scared to try things (in food and, erm, life!). Some of my challenges are: fermented beetroot, putting my mug on Insta stories and driving on the continent (if we can still bloody well get there).
You don’t need a fancy jar for this, I just had one and want to get busy with some fermenting. If you like gherkins and mayo, just buy the biggest jars you can find and clean them out when you’ve eaten up the content. Fermented beetroot? My18 year old self is just plain confused, but trying new food and new recipes is, I think, important. It keeps me on my toes and open to trying new things, from a single anchovy on a slice of thickly buttered bread to the very first time I tried a steaming bowl of french onion soup, aged 8, on holiday with my family. It was probably a Knorr packet soup, but I was in heaven and I’ve never looked back. Who knows? maybe it’ll be the same with my lacto-fermented beetroots.
450 grams chopped veg
500ml whey mixed with 1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon spices
On veg: if you can get it from a veg box, a farmers market or greencgrocer, do – the veggies won’t have been tumbled and washed so much, which will help your ferment to get … lively
On salt: don’t use the big bags of table salt as the iodine used to treat it may kill the ferment. Maldon or whatnot is what you need here
On spices: I used bay leaves and fennel fronds as they were to hand; also chilli flakes, black or white peppercorns, dill seeds, fennel seeds or coriander seeds
Large jar (big enough for your veg)
Cabbage leaf or pickle weight
Chop up the veg into equal sized pieces
Place herbs or spices in the jar and push down
Add veggies to your jar, in equal layers if you’re using a mixture
Leave 4cm clear to the top of the jar
Pour over enough whey to cover, leaving 3cm clear
Place your cabbage leaf or pickle weight to submerge the veg (this is essential as otherwise the veg will *rot*, not ferment)
Seal loosely or cover with a cloth and keep at room temperature for between 2 and 7 days (it’s January as I type, so 7 here!)
Try the veg; once it tastes tart and the liquid is a little fizzy it’s time to move the jar to the fridge
If you see a little white mould on the liquid simply skim it off – it’s not chucking out time!
Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch: