Every once in awhile I make something that is out of my comfort zone and am shocked by how good turns out. Lacto-fermented spicy sweet potatoes is one of those recipes.
Fermenting is currently the rage in Los Angeles; from trendy restaurant chefs & mixologists to vegans & home cooks alike.
I am a novice with fermenting, but I love it so much that I think I will soon become an expert! You can read about my first time fermenting process here.
The popularity of fermenting has grown for several possible reasons. It is noted for it’s probiotics properties that can help with digestion, and it enhances the flavor of whatever ingredient is being fermented. A side benefit is the leftover brine, which is full of flavor and can be used in salad dressings, drinks and to season just about everything.
This recipe is easier to make with a digital scale, spiralizer, and a fermenting jar, but can be done without as well.
Scale: If you don’t own a kitchen scale, get one. A kitchen scale makes life so much easier. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought one for $10 at Marshalls. If you don’t have a scale, weigh your sweet potatoes at the store and buy 1 extra small sweet potato to make up the difference of peeling and the parts you might cut off.
Spiralizer: I use my spiralizer a lot during the summer months. You can purchased a hand held version at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond for $15, or the one I am using at Amazon for $30. Other options are a julienne peeler or you can simply cut the sweet potatoes in small strips.
Fermenting Jar: I am very fond of my 3-liter Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit from Rancho La Merced Provisions. If you would like to use a mason jar check out Food Renegade’s “Using a Mason Jar for Fermenting” on the subject.
In this recipe the massaged sweet potatoes creates its own brine. If the brine doesn’t cover all the sweet potatoes you can add a little bottled/filtered water to the top to keep the vegetables submerged so mold won’t form.
Note: The jalapeño pepper’s heat level will increase with time. I learned this after eating it straight out of the jar after it had been stored for two weeks in the refrigerator and almost burned my lips off. So now, I leave the jalapeño at the top and pull it out when it reaches the level of heat I prefer.
- 2.5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled & spiraled or sliced thinly
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds removed sliced
- 3-4 tablespoons sea salt
- In a large non-reactive bowl mix the sweet potatoes with the ginger, onion, and jalapeño. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Massage the sweet potatoes to encourage the release of the juices and to help the brine develop faster.
- Once the brine begins to form (about 20 minutes), transfer to a fermentation vessel or (mason jar). Push down with a clean hand, if necessary, until the brine goes above the vegetables.
- Cover and ferment 5-10 days. It is important to keep this ferment in a cool place (under 65°F) as a quick fermentation could result in a large amount of alcohol being produced.
- If you are not using an airlock, be sure to burp the jars regularly to release pressure.
- Once the potatoes are pleasantly fermented, move them to the refrigerator.
Fermentation time: 7 days
I love this recipe because it is spicy with a perfect balance of sweet. I eat it straight out of the jar or with a dollop of labneh (a Middle Eastern soft cheese made from yogurt), as well as on pork carnitas tacos, as a side dish for grilled meats and fish, or even for breakfast with greek yogurt and rice crackers.
I am off to the farmer’s market to investigate my next fermenting adventure.
…and then, she paused for thought.