It is that time of year again. The seed catalogs are arriving, and in the depths of winter the thought of spring refuses to be suppressed.
There is no doubt that vegetables fresh from the garden are the best for fermenting. They are fresher, and chemically cleaner than what you can buy, and you know for yourself exactly how they were grown.
If you are planning a limited space garden, or if you are wanting to plant a garden that has plenty of good stuff for fermenting, this list may help you plan a garden designed to get you in a fine pickle at harvest time!
- Artichokes – Globe artichokes or Jerusalem artichokes both pickle well. Both are perinnial crops so you plant them once and they come back year after year.
- Asparagus – plant once, and it comes back year after year. Remember to plant this where you will not need to move it, and where you do not plan to dig or till in the future (it even works well in landscaping beds).
- Beets – You can grow a lot of beets in a small space, and you can use beet thinnings in salads, the baby greens are wonderfully flavorful. Traditionally used for kvass, beets also make wonderful pickles.
- Bell Peppers – Perfect for salsas, and for adding color to pickled veggies. Pickled sweet peppers are amazing in any color!
- Broccoli – An old favorite, you can pickle the flowerettes for a traditional look, or you can use the flowerettes in other meals and pickle the stems. Even the big tough stems can be peeled and cubed or julienned for amazing broccoli pickles.
- Cabbage – Kraut. Need we say more?
- Carrots – After Kraut and Cukes, carrots are one of the all time favorites for pickling. Lovely color to add to veggie mixes.
- Cauliflower – Another traditional pickling veggie.
- Chard – Pickles really well. It will go softer than kraut, but stays firmer than spinach.
- Collards – A great pickler, it makes a softer kraut than cabbage, with LOTS more green! Collards will grow in the spring or fall an go to seed and self-seed in the south. In the north you can grow them as a summer crop and they stand the heat better than some.
- Corn – Look for a “baby cob” corn variety, and you can make those awesome little pickled baby corn cobs.
- Cucumbers – A pickling variety is best, picked young, but even older picklers will make good pickle slices. NOTHING that you buy in the store can equal a fresh snappy pickled cucumber fresh from the crock.
- Dill – A must! Dill is easy to grow, and so good in pickles. Great for eggs and potato salads too! Dill grows well in winter gardens also.
- Fennel – Fennel pickles well in veggie mixes where the unique flavor can be the focal point.
- Garlic – If you plant your garlic in an area where you do not have to move it, you can naturalize it so it comes back year after year. A soft neck variety dries and hangs to keep for many months.
- Green Beans – Bush varieties produce without poles, but pole varieties produce more beans over a longer time span. Either way, pick the beans young, and you’ll get great veggie pickles.
- Herbs – Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, and all the other good stuff your recipes call for. Fresh grown is so much better than herbs from the store.
- Jalapeno Peppers – Or your other favorite hot pepper. Toss them in wherever you want some sizzle.
- Kale – Another vegetable that pickles like kraut only a little softer. It can also be added to other firm greens mixes.
- Kohlrabi – Julienne and pickle. A good winter crop also.
- Okra – Pickled okra is a Southern tradition. Okra really doesn’t grow well unless you have a long hot growing season, but then it will keep producing all summer.
- Onions – Plant onion sets for large bulbs. Plant Shallots, or other multiplier onions to naturalize your onions so they keep producing year after year without replanting – just dig what you need and let the rest grow. Onions – baby onions, sliced green onions, chopped onions, or sliced onions, add a sweet crunchy bite to any veggie mix. They are nothing like the soggy cooked onion pickles you get in the stores.
- Peas – Snap peas, or Snow peas will pickle nicely and work well in veggie mixes.
- Radish – Daikon radish is used for traditional Japanese fermented radish. Goes soft in most ferments, so use with caution.
- Spinach – Softens when it ferments, but pickled spinach is awesome!
- Tomatoes – Sweet tomatoes go alcoholic. Dryer low sugar tomatoes such as Romas, or other sauce tomatoes work much better in salsas and other ferments. Don’t over-use, or they’ll go alcoholic anyway. Plant some sauce tomatoes and give them a try!
- Zucchini – Pickled zucchini chips… They don’t go soggy like cooked pickles!
- Watermelon – Ah, yes. Watermelon rind pickles. Use the green part, cut off the stiff outer rind. The inner rind makes a great tart pickle. Watermelon itself will go alcoholic.
I’m sure I’ve left out a lot of options, but the veggies above should give you many choices for planting a good garden to keep your pickling ferments going throughout the harvest season.
Grow a spring garden, a summer garden, a fall garden, or a winter garden, and you can even keep the veggies coming all year round in most places in the US.
Look at your favorite pickling recipes and sort out the things you can grow yourself.
Your body will thank you!
The ORIGINAL one-way valve fermenting airlock! Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and we have noticed that our product has been copied by other sellers of fermenting products. Remember, if you see someone else selling a one-way valve airlock for fermenting, THEY copied US, not the other way around! Fermenta Lock is still the only original invention, handmade in the US. If it isn't orange, it isn't the original!
We invented Fermenta Lock, Fermenta Free, and the valve used for Fermenta Fido and other Fermenta Airlock products. We invented Fermenta Dunk Extender. Patents are prohibitively expensive, and designed by the government not to protect the rights of individuals, but to provide another source of revenue and control for the government and lawyers. We are good at what we do. We have endless ideas and endless creativity, and competition does not scare us. Impatient thieves do not scare us - they are too busy taking shortcuts to make a success of it anyway, and they won't want to take the effort to actually MAKE a product and fill orders.
So if you want to copy our idea, go right ahead. If you want to market and sell a competing product, you are welcome to do so, as long as you do not patent our idea - we had it first, and our posts on FaceBook announcing the invention and launch of it will prove that. This idea is officially in the public domain, placed there by us. We will NOT release supply sources, or part names unless you want to buy them - we'll be happy to sell you an instruction kit. If you buy our product, or look at the images and figure it out for yourself, good on you. Compete with us if you like, just don't screw us, and we'll get along just fine. Big companies who might want to screw us may have more money, and more lawyers than we do, but we have more to gain by suing the pants off a big company, and believe me, we will be well motivated to do so if anyone patents our idea and claims it as their own - this is a free idea. Everybody now owns it.
Published June 23, 2012
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