I’ve been busy fermenting over the past few weeks and it’s truly amazing how many vegetables turn into a beautiful food, after fermentation.
I love the flavour of freshly harvested vegetables. They’re beautiful, aromatic, fresh, and full of flavour. But, many of these vegetables don’t store well. So we turn to food preservation, in order to enjoy the fruits of our labour, when the ground is cold and hard.
I’ve recently written about fermented pickles and discussed the health benefits of fermented foods. I truly enjoy eating them, so have been busy experimenting with the fermentation of various vegetables. I love the flavour of fermented foods and I love even more, how great they make me feel!
One of my more surprising and delicious ferments was with Cucamelons! The result was visually beautiful! It’s flavour resembled a pickle, with a hint of lemon.
I decided to give fermented cucamelons a try, because of how much I love fermented pickles. Cucamelons were especially interesting for me, because of their crunchy skin and cucumber-like flavour. They also look beautiful on a plate and the idea of them at the bottom of a martini glass or served alongside olives, really appealed to me. Plus, they make the perfect conversation piece.
The principle behind fermented vegetables, is similar for each ferment. You whip up either a 3 or 5% salt brine solution, add all the typical preferred spices, add the vegetables, weigh them under the salt brine solution and allow them to ferment on the counter until ready. Once the ferment is complete, store them in the refrigerator or cold room, to stop the fermentation process.
In the case of cucamelons, I used a similar approach. Here’s what I did, to create the loveliest pickled veggie.
Recipe for Fermented Cucamelons
- Cucamelons (enough to fill the jar size of your choosing)
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves (sliced lengthwise)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp allspice (whole)
- 2 dill stems (fresh), plus fronds
- 3 tbsp sea salt
- 1 pint glass canning jar
- Smaller jar or fermentation weight (to weigh down the contents)
- Dish towel (linen preferably)
- Soak the cucamelons overnight in cold water. Add ice cubes to the water, when initially filling the bowl.
- Prepare the salt brine solution, by adding 3 tbsp of sea salt to every 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and stir well, to dissolve the salt. The brine can be allowed to cool down, or may be added hot to the jar.
- Wash the cucamelons thoroughly and remove the tough nub on the one end. This was the original blossom side. I simply scraped mine off.
- Add the bay leaf, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice and dill to the jar.
- Add the cucamelons to the jar.
- Fill the jar with brine, almost to the top. Set aside any remaining brine in a jar, or other container, in case topping up is necessary.
- Weigh down the contents using a smaller glass jar, or fermentation weight, wrapped in linen or cheese cloth. Be sure all of the contents are under the brine, to prevent spoilage. Anything exposed to air, will spoil.
- Set the jar on your counter or somewhere it won’t be disturbed.
- Cover the jar with a cloth to prevent bugs from settling.
- Check on your jar every day, and top up the brine if necessary. Remove any white residue that may appear on the surface.
- After about a week, your cucamelons should be ready. The contents will smell like pickles. Taste one, to see if it’s reached the flavour you desire. If not ready, leave for another day or two.
- After the cucamelons have finished their ferment, close the jar and store it in the fridge or dark cold room.
I love the taste of fermented cucamelons! They taste like sour pickles, with a hint of lemon. I look forward to eating them as hors d’oeuvres, added to a martini glass, with a burger, turkey sandwich or on their own. They are so much fun to eat and your friends and family will love them! They definitely won’t find them in any grocery store.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have! If you do end up making them, I would love to hear from you, about your experience.
Good luck and Happy Gardening!
Here are the tools that I mentioned in the post.