Lime, Vanilla Bean, and Tarragon Pickle


See The Kimchi Method video for the treatment of cabbage and other vegetables for fermentation or picking. Otherwise, salt down your green, leafy nappa cabbage cut in eighths lengthwise for about 4 hours. Squeeze out very well. Taste for salt. It should be a little too salty, definitely not saltless.

If you don’t have fresh tarragon, dried works very well. You could also use a tablespoon of high quality vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, or a teaspoon of toasted cardamon seeds – not cardamom pods. Lavender and tarragon also make a great combination if you don’t want to use vanilla.


  • 1 cabbage: 1 1/2 pounds or 650 grams
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 whole lime cut into slivers or 1 TB dried or fresh lime zest
  • 1 TB black peppercorns, toasted in a pan.
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt for pre-treatment of cabbage
  • 1 TB coarse sea salt
  • 5 each scallions or 75 grams
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and chopped. (See alternatives)
  • 1/2 yellow or 60 grams onion
  • 1 tsp dried garlic

After you have salted down the cabbage, squeeze as much water out of it as you can. Add the tarragon leaves. Cut the well washed and scrubbed lime in half, then slice in very thin slices. Peel and thinly slice the two peeled onion halves.

Toss with roasted, dehydrated garlic, or garlic chips or powder. You could also use fresh garlic. Toast and grind the black peppercorns, or grind in 1 to 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Add the tablespoon of salt and let sit after mixing well.


Roll the cabbage around the other ingredients as if you were stuffing them.

Lay out the cabbage on a cutting board and place all the other ingredients along the wilted cabbage. Roll up as best you can. Stuff into a well washed jar or another container. Press the pickles down with something heavy, or even a bag of marbles or salt.

Put a very clean drip bowl under the pickles. After 24 hours at room temperature check the pickles. The juice will have likely leaked out of the lightly screwed on top.

Pour it back in and run a chopstick or knife down the side of the jar to ensure the liquid gets in. Let ferment for about 5 to 7 days.

You could keep fermenting it for a few more weeks if you like, or refrigerate it. It should last at least a few months if you keep it covered, and free from dirty forks or spoons.



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Kojifiles

Two types of home made mirin, both double fermented.

Today’s presentation and kick off of KojiFest 2019 was off the charts.  Yoshiko san’s 9 year old miso was deep. The hatcho miso tasted like chocolate and bourbon and dark maple syrup if it was made from soybean trees (no, soybeans don’t grow on trees). Stunning.

Maki san was evangelizing.

I didn’t get a tenth into my presentation but people seemed interested in hearing about which koji  enzymes created which organoleptic (smell, taste, color, etc.) properties in koji-centric ferments like miso, shoyu, mirin and sake so I let it rip.

Didn’t have time to present recipes or discuss entire topics. Last PhD thesis I write for an hour presentation.

The apexart space and the staff were exceptional. I’m moving in next week. I wish. I’m just moving.

The next four KojiFest 2019 events have been scheduled for April 13th ( about koji-centric ferments from places you’d like to be during Spring Break), May 4 (our KojiFest 2019 Del Mayo), and June 8 all Saturdays, all in New York City.

For those that were unable to attend today’s fest here’s a recipe for one of my all time favorite salads using mirin in the dressing. Everyone seemed to like the mirin I made – incredibly easy to do for those that are patient – but you could use Mitoku brand Organic Mikawa Mirin and add a touch of a small amount of brown rice vinegar and achieve the same result. 

Did I mention we still need volunteers? And people interested in presenting their koji-centric creations?

Apexart.org event with culturegroup.net

Check out this other apexart.org event on March 2, 1 to 3 PM on Bokashi Fermentation https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bokashi-fermentation-workshop-tickets-56137788637

“Managing organic waste is a major challenge for businesses and residents of NYC. As our city strives for zero waste by 2030, we need to consider innovative solutions for managing waste. Bokashi fermentation is an ancient, simple, fun and highly effective technique to manage organic waste. Using waste organic material like sawdust and dried coffee grounds, and a sealable 5 gallon bucket, any household can make an inoculant that will prevent food waste from rotting. The end product is a valuable soil amendment for garden soil, just by burying it in the ground.”

Koji cured Chicken salad with Sour Dill Pickles and lacto-fermented vegetables, mirin vinaigrette 

Separately ferment 1 jumbo peeled beet (save peelings to dry to color food) or 392 grams julienned beets in 3 tsp (12 grams) grams salt. Mix two cups of julienned carrots and onions (482 grams) with 18 grams or 4 TSP coarse salt. Let ferment for at least a week at room temp in tightly rolled air release bags, or under brine as you would with any vegetable. After fermenting you will have 308 grams beets, 374 grams onions and carrots, and ¼ cup juice from the latter set aside. Take 1200 grams of chicken cured in koji for 7 days in the refrigerator fridge and cook at low heat until just slightly browned. Save juices to mix with carrot/onion juice. After cooling, julienne chicken.  Mix ¼ cup mirin, 1 TSP celery seed and up to 1 TSP freshly ground toasted black pepper with the reserved juices. Add 3 TSP fresh tarragon or 2 TSP dried and mix well. Add a cup of crisp apple sticks if desired. Serve right after adding the beets at room temperature. 

Koji cured chicken with lactofermented beets, carrots,
onions and cucumbers, mirin vinaigrette.

Ken Fornataro

麹 culturesgroup

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