I’ve tried a few times to use squash in a fermentation and this one finally seems to get a really nice balance of flavor. I got the inspiration from making a squash soup one wintry night and found that cardamom seemed to really enhance the flavor of the squash immensely. The process is a fairly straightforward sauerkraut-style fermentation and quite easy to make. I let this one ferment for a little longer than some which seemed to help. If the ferment is too short with this one, the squash flavors seem to dominate and the squash remains a little too crisp. WIth the longer ferment, the increased sourness puts the squash right where it belongs, not too upfront and not too hidden. If you try any modifications to this or have any suggestions for other ways you’ve successfully fermented with squash, please share your comments.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Fermentation time: 3 weeks
Yield: 4 pints
3 1/2 lbs green cabbage
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash (skin and seeds removed)
3 Tbsp salt
1 tsp carroway seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp cardamom powder
- Prepare the cabbage and squash
Remove the skin from the butternut squash. Cut it open and remove the seeds. Grate the squash (I used a Cuisinart Food Processor, but any solid grater will do.Clean the cabbage by removing any outer leaves that may look a little distressed. If you don’t remove any leaves, clean the outside of the cabbage gently. Slice the cabbage into strips approx 1/4″ wide. (the size isn’t that important, more of an aesthetic decision that anything else.
- Toss with salt
Place the cabbage and squash in a large bowl and toss with the salt. If the quantity of your squash and cabbage is different, the ratio to use is approximately 1 Tbsp salt for each 1 1/2 lbs of veggies. See Measuring and Using Salt in Fermentations. Let it sit for an hour or so and toss a few times.
- Add in spices
Add the carroway seeds and cardamom powder and mix well to distribute evenly.
- Place everything in fermenting vessel
Take all ingredients from the bowl including the liquid which may be pooling at the bottom and in your fermentation vessel. If you’re looking for one, I find this fermentation vessel works great, but I’ve also used 1 gallon Anchor Hocking cookie jars.
Compress the ingredients in the vessel by pressing down with your fist. Your goal is to have the liquid rise to more than cover the ingredients. Place a weight on top of the ingredients. If you use a fermentation crock, then it should come with it’s own weights. If you use the cookie jar approach, you can take a large bottle filled with water and use it as a weight or fill a plastic bag with water (be sure it doesn’t leak first).If the liquid doesn’t yet rise up sufficiently to cover the vegetables, don’t fret just yet. Just give it some extra time, perhaps up to 8 hours or overnight. Compress again. If the liquid still doesn’t cover it add some water and mix it all up good so the dissolved salt is well distributed. The more fresh your ingredients are, the more liquid will nautirally leach from the veggies.
- Wait impatiently
Leave it to ferment for about 3 weeks. Feel free to taste regularly as you go to get a feel for how the flavor changes, but be cautious to always use clean hands and limit the amount of time the lid is off as you don’t want to introduce mold spores or other microorganisms.
- Jar it up
This helps to significantly slow the fermentation.
This ferment is nice served as a simple side dish or mixed in with your lettuce-based salad.