Yum! I love fermented foods! Fermenting foods not only allows for long time preservation, but it also helps to build beneficial bacteria that contributes to a happy gut. Fermentation also creates a different and new flavor for foods, you may find you love a food that has been fermented but don’t like it as much when it’s fresh or cooked. This is exactly how I feel about onions, actually.
Onions are not my favorite in the world, actually they are a food I generally avoid. But I decided to make a leap, to go on a food adventure. Fermenting onions helps to make a sweeter, lighter flavor and changes the texture altogether. People who hate onions because they’re ‘squeaky’ may suddenly find themselves enjoying fermented onions.
Step One: Make the brine
The most basic brine is 1tablespoon for 4 cups water. This brine works for fermenting onions, carrots, cauliflower, and much more. I generally heat the water on the stove to ensure the salt has completely dissolved.
Step Two: Dice the onions
I cry uncontrollably when I cut onions. The fresher the onion, the less the tears. But even the freshest onions make me sob! Stupid, sensitive eyes! So, I roughly chop onions and throw them into my food processor and pulse until diced. I also am sure to wear my boyfriend’s ski goggles.
Step Three: Ferment!
I then put the onions into a jar and cover with the brine. I put the jar lid on and shake gently, then loosen the lid. This is my super simple way to ferment many foods! I make sure to tighten the lid and shake gently many times a day, at least 5 times a day, but be sure to loosen the lid between shakes. As food ferments, it releases air and could shatter your jar if you leave the lid tight! Onions will ferment in 2 days in warmer conditions (70 degrees and above) and 3 days in cooler conditions (below 70 degrees). Be sure that, during fermentation process, you do not refrigerate the food. Once the onions are fermented to a scent that appeals to you, tighten the jar lid and store in cold storage. Below 45 degrees will stop fermentation and now it’s just preserved, ready for use!
Step Four: Using your fermented food
I like to preserve the bacteria by avoiding cooking the onions post fermentation, meaning I use it as a topper for my chili or soups. I mix them with sour cream and hot sauce to make a dip. I sometimes even just take a spoonful. I’m shamelessly addicted to my onions.