Fresh VS. Aged Ferments
We all love our sauerkraut and kimchi. Some like them fresher, while some prefer the more robust flavours of older ferments. Remember, the fermentation process continues even when the ferments are refrigerated. Refrigerating or freezing slows down microbial activity, so that jar of kimchi or sauerkraut in your fridge will continue to slowly ferment and take on a more “pronounced” flavour over time. If you find your kimchi or kraut has become too strong-tasting for your palate, don’t toss it, dehydrate your ferments into a delicious seasoning, packed full of umami flavour!
I had been dabbling in dehydrating fruit and was inspired by a post on a fermentation forum to try it out with some older kimchi and sauerkraut I found in the back of my fridge. After dehydrating the ferments overnight, I blended them in a coffee grinder and was instantly hooked! The concentrated flavour of the kimchi was intensely delicious. The caraway kraut turned into a beautiful plum-colored powder and the flavour was amazing! I went ahead and tried it with my other krauts (curry, chipotle, and garlic-dill). I use these seasonings on popcorn, roasted or grilled potatoes, vegetables, in a kefir-cheese dip, the options are endless!
You might be wondering if the beneficial microbes are killed off during the dehydration process. I’ve read studies showing that microbes can be reanimated after having been dehydrated, but this was during controlled lab conditions with sophisticated equipment and techniques. While we have likely lost the microbes, we have still obtained a concentrated, umami-packed seasoning.
How to Dehydrate Ferments
USING A FOOD DEHYDRATOR
- Follow the instructions that came with the dehydrator.
- Add the contents of the jar minus the liquid
- Dehydrate the ferment until completely dry
- Blend into a powder (coarse or fine) using a coffee/spice grinder or blender.
- Store in a sealed container at room temperature, out of direct sunlight
USING A CONVENTIONAL OVEN
* Cooling racks are best to use for dehydrating as they help with air flow
- Set oven to 135-200?C (275-392?F)
- Cover a cooling rack* or cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Add the complete contents of the jar (including the liquid) to the rack/sheet