Every year I find myself elbow deep in greens. Early this year I planted four varieties of lettuce, two of them mustard greens. After many an inventive salad, it dawned on me: Could I ferment my greens?
Lilly blessed me with an amazing crock so I have been doing quite a few ferments lately. Not only is fermented food delicious, it is wildly nutritious! If you would like to learn more about fermenting and why it is so life changing, read The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It is a game changer!
I will admit, I am not sure how long fermented lettuce will stay good for because I can’t seem to keep it around. It is great in grain salads made with farro or wild rice, pasta dishes, stir fries and oddly enough…mashed potatoes!
And it is oh so easy! All you need is lettuce, sea salt and water!
Be sure to wash your lettuce thoroughly. I am not sure how fermented critters taste, but it gives me the heebee geebees. I usually immerse my lettuce in a big bowl of water and add a tablespoon of sea salt. Let it sit for a half hour and then agitate the water to make sure the lettuce is fully clean.
Then, I pull out handfuls of lettuce and place them in a strainer. Sprinkle the lettuce with sea salt and then pack it in a wide mouth jar. Once all the lettuce is in the jar be sure to smash it down. I usually add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
Place a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and seal with a ring. Keep this jar out on the counter and monitor it twice a day, packing down the lettuce with a spatula at that time. Within eight to ten hours you want the brine to almost fully cover the lettuce. If that does not happen add a little water.
After two days, place the jar in the fridge and enjoy! I usually repack into a smaller jar, the lettuce really condenses in size as it wilts and ferments.
**One thing to note, I think a lot of the amazing flavor comes from using mustard greens in addition to lettuce. I would love to hear how your fermented lettuce turns out!