Fermented tomato juice (tomato juice and smoked salt; 12 months old)
Salt and Pepper
Hot pepper sauce (fermented 2 yrs)
Worcestershire sauce, (fermented by Lea & Perrins®)
Loveage stem (straws)
Fermenting vegetable juices is extremely easy, and the results are exceedingly delicious. Last summer I started with two cases of organic roma tomatoes. I sliced them in half, sprinkled on some smoked salt, and let it ferment in a crock for a week. After 2 days, the tomatoes were reduced to a thick slurry. After a week, the pulp was removed from the seeds and skin. I stirred 2 or 3 times every day to reduce mold establishment. After a week I strained the seeds and pulp out, and filled narrow sauce bottles with the juice. I added a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the contents of each jar to prevent oxygen from contacting the juice. Then waited a year. Fantastic flavor!
Last week we finally got our typical week or two of hot daytime temperatures and warm evenings here in Seattle. Perfect weather for cocktails in the garden. Drinking the cocktails from Loveage stems for straws was an added flavor, especially if the stem was chewed slightly. They were so delicious, we had to open another bottle of tomato juice and keep going.
If you’re up for fermenting your own cocktail mixers, this is the best resource in know: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante, published in 1999 by Chelsea Green.
I’ve fermented carrot, beet, celery, radish, cucumber, tomato, and various blends of green vegetable juices, all with rewarding success. Add a little salt and let time do its magic. I remove the olive oil from the narrow neck of the jar with a turkey baster. I’ve also used airlocks with success, or just let the top mold and pull the ‘plug’ out when it’s time to use the juice. The pulp and pigments typically settle to the bottom of the jar, leaving clear liquid. Stir or shake as desired. These juices are also great in soup, or to deglaze a pan when sautéing. (Photographs by Kwai Lam.)