Los Angeles

Late Notice: Picklefest and Produce Swap

Thanks to Slow Food member Judi Bikel (and to The Kitchn) for the alert about another event at the Machine Project, tomorrow:

When: Saturday, September 20, 2008 from 1:00pm until 4:00pm
Where: The Machine Project, 1200 D North Alvarado Street in Echo Park
Cost: Free, but bring pickle jars, and produce to pickle and/or swap with your new pickle buddies

From the Machine Project site:

In collaboration with Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne from homegrownevolution.com and Mark Frauenfelder from dinosaursandrobots.com, we’re excited to be hosting our first ever pickling festival and produce swap.

Back before the advent of canning and freezing, folks preserved their vegetable harvest via lacto-fermentation. This process, once commonplace, survives today mostly in the form of sauerkraut and kim-chi. These days, almost all store bought pickles and contemporary pickle recipes are vinegar-based. Lacto-fermented pickles contain no vinegar at all.

In lacto-fermentation, salt is added to vegetables, either by covering them in salty water or by mixing them with salt to draw out their own juices. Either way, the vegetable ends up stewing in salty liquid. Lactic microbial organisms (the same beasties that spoil milk) take hold in this environment and make it so acidic that bacteria that cause food to spoil can’t live there. The result is a pickled food that will keep without canning or refrigeration. Lacto-fermented pickles are also full of beneficial bacteria that, like the bacteria in yogurt, are good for your gut and make food more digestible.

The event is in two parts:
a) People who have gardens can bring in their produce and swap with other gardeners.
b) Everyone can bring in produce to pickle, make into sauerkraut, kimchee etc.

We’re interested in experimental and improvisational pickling. Bring jars!

At the end of the day, everyone leaves some of their pickles at Machine and we’ll get back together in the winter to try everyone’s pickles when they are ready.

What to pickle:
Just about any firm, sturdy vegetable can be lacto-fermented. Some recommendations include: Radishes (daikon is especially tasty), cucumbers, cabbage, baby onions, green beans, carrots, garlic cloves, beets, lemons, turnips, all work nicely.