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I’m pretty short on time these days because of work (I work at a peach stand!), but I had time to throw these simple spiced peaches together. I’m so glad I did, because they’re definitely the best lactofermented things I’ve had so far. In case the idea of fermenting something sounds complicated, let me assure you that it is not. You just need a) something to ferment, b) whey left from yogurt making, and c) pure water. And a glass jar with a lid, and a cool place to ferment (like a basement), and spices of your choice. Easy as that!
Lactofermentation produces good bacteria that is great for your gut and whatever else ails you. But that’s just a side benefit. Lactofermented stuff tastes awesome, and it makes you feel adventuresome. That’s what it does for me at least, but I’m not really a super-adventuresome person. Roller coasters freak me out.
Lactofermenting is pretty much the only food experimentation I have time for these days. I have my own little “fermentery” going on downstairs. Spiced peaches are in the fridge, and sweet dill pickles and sweet spiced red beets are currently bubbling away on the counter. If they turn out well, I’ll share the recipes for those later.
Don’t be afraid to make yogurt to get some whey. Yogurt making is just as easy as lactofermenting. The whey is a crucial part of lactofermentation because it helps start the good cultures and prevents bad cultures from growing in your stuff as it ferments. Here’s a tutorial I did on yogurt-making, if you need some guidance.
So how do these peaches taste? A-maz-ing. Fully serious. They are nicely seasoned, but the fresh peach flavor shines through. The coolest thing about these babies are that they’re kind of “zingy”, like soda pop. When I finish eating the peaches themselves, I’m going to drink the juice. I bet it’ll taste like pop. It’s seriously almost carbonated-tasting. I like to eat these peaches straight off a fork with my breakfast of peach muesli in the mornings. Don’t heat the peaches – that’ll kill the good bacteria. I think you could stir them into warm oatmeal, but don’t heat them with the oatmeal.
Be careful how long you let the peaches ferment. Fruit ferments very quickly, so I would suggest checking on them after one day, and don’t ferment any longer than two days. Vegetables take longer; I once fermented saurkraut for thirty days and it was awesome. The sugars in fruits make them ferment faster, and they can turn alcoholic if left sitting on the counter for too long.
I haven’t tested how long these stay good in the refrigerator (I just made them last week and wanted to go ahead and share the recipe during peach season), but I have noticed that after about a week, they get a little tangier. I venture to guess that these would be fine in the fridge for at least two weeks. They’re not apt to spoil (there’s lots of good bacteria in there), but they might start tasting a little alcoholic after awhile, which some people would not appreciate. *Edit* I kept some around for about 3 weeks and they were fine, so maybe they keep longer than I originally anticipated.
Don’t be scared – give these a try! I think you’ll really enjoy them, especially if you like “different” things…things cool and out of the ordinary.
Question of the day: have you ever lactofermented something? If so, share below!
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- Ripe peaches, peeled, stones taken out, quartered
- Whey left from yogurt making
- Vanilla extract
- Ground red pepper
- Pure water
- Fill clean glass quart jars with the peaches, leaving a good inch of room at the top of the jar. Add 2 T whey to each jar. Add spices of your choice, as well as a little vanilla extract. Add a pinch each of red pepper and salt. Fill the jar with pure water to cover the peaches completely, leaving an inch of room at the top of the jar for expansion. Put a lid on the jar and store in a cool place, like a basement, for two days (or until the peaches reach your desired flavor). Be careful - fruit ferments quickly (and will turn alcoholic)! Check your peaches multiple times to make sure they're not getting more fermented than you'd like (higher temperatures will make them ferment more quickly). The mixture will bubble while it's fermenting, but don't worry - that's supposed to happen. When the peaches reach your desired level of fermentation, put them in the refrigerator to stop further fermentation. Enjoy them on their own (with a protein source, of course), over low fat yogurt or cottage cheese, blended into smoothies, etc. Do not heat the peaches if you wish to retain their healthy bacterial properties.
- I love these things! They get a nice tart zing to them, and the ginger makes the juice taste like ginger ale (homemade ginger ale is one of my next projects)! I bet you could thicken the juice with some glucomannan or xanthan gum and use it as an E vinaigrette on your salad, Trim Healthy Mamas. Or drink it like soda pop when you're done with the peaches.
- I haven't tested how long these will keep in the fridge, but I'm sure they'll be gone before you have to worry about that. They do seem to get more and more "zingy" as they sit in the fridge, so taste and let that be your guide. I wouldn't suggest keeping them for more than two weeks. *Edit* I kept some around for 3 weeks and they were still fine, so maybe they keep longer than I originally anticipated.