Why I lacto-ferment banana peppers:
My family loves homemade pizza on Friday night. In particular, my husband loves banana peppers on the pizza in place of nitrate laden pepperoni. I can't bring myself to consistently buy pepperoni loaded with chemicals or artificially colored banana peppers.
Last summer on a whim, I grew banana peppers. Because we weren't eating them at the rate they were ripening, I decided to lacto-ferment a jar. Oh my. They are delicious. This year I grew two banana pepper plants.
In a previous post, Lisa explains the benefits of lacto-fermentation:
Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation in which salt and/or a culture (like whey) are used to inhibit putrefying bacteria until enough lactic acid is produced to preserve the food. The lactic acid is produced by lactobaccili (lactic acid producing bacteria).
The process of lacto-fermentation increases the digestibility of the lacto-fermented food. Because digestive enzymes are increased it also helps to digest other food eaten in the same meal. In addition, lacto-fermentation increases vitamin levels and supports the growth of healthy flora in the intestines.
Think of this as preserved super nutritious easily digestible raw food. As you can see, this is much more nutrient-dense fair than our modern pasteurized vegetables preserved in an acidic brine of white vinegar (Did you know white vinegar is made from corn and most of our corn is GMO?) Best of all, lacto-fermented vegetables are easy to make and taste great!
How I lacto-fermented banana peppers:
Start with about 15-20 banana peppers, one jalapeno pepper for heat, 3 cloves of garlic and half a sweet onion. No artificial colors or flavors here.
For whey I used plain, full fat yogurt strained through a coffee filter/strainer contraption. Whey drips out the bottom and you're left with a thick greek-like yogurt.
Fill a jar with the rings.
Slice the jalapeno, onion and garlic and place them on the top. The placement is not crucial - they can be mixed. I just wanted to make sure all my banana peppers fit into the jar. If I had more room, I would have added more onions and or garlic.
Add 4 T whey, 1 T Real Salt (or other sea salt without added iodine), and fill jar with filtered or non-chorinated water. I actually used 2 T whey from the yogurt and 2 T of "juice" from a previous batch of kimchi.
Screw a lid on tightly.
Below: peppers after 24 hours - you can see how the color has changed from green to yellow and the liquid appears murkier. The pressure is building under the lid, too. This tells me that fermentation is happening!
all of these ingredients can be found currently at a central Arkansas farmers' market
prep time: about 30 minutes - it's easy people!
quart of banana peppers
jalapeno pepper or more
3 or more cloves of garlic
1/2 or more onion, sliced
4 T whey
1 T Real salt
quart jar and lid
Let jar sit at room temperature for at least 3 days then store in the refrigerator.
EDIT 09/13: See also this post where I made relish with banana peppers. Easier, space and time saving. Win-win.
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