I have made sauerkraut from cabbage many times, but today decided to try to ferment some leafy green vegetables. I went out to the greenhouse and brought in a basketful of collard greens and Swiss chard. Here they are soaking in cold water in the sink.
Here is my very large stainless colander for draining the greens.
I walked down to the creek and found 3 rocks that seemed appropriately sized, scrubbed them well in hot, soapy water. They will be used to weight the vegetables down under the brine solution. You can see them in the pan here with two large-mouth Mason jars, two lids and two jar rings. I will cover it all with water and boil it for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, I took the thick ribs out of the leaves, after washing and draining twice, and now am putting them in small quantities into my salad spinner.
Here is the salad spinner with the lid on. Goodness. It looks a little grungy, but I promise that the INSIDE of the spinner is quite clean. It just sits on a shelf and gets dusty.
Next, I sliced the greens into thin strips.
Here they all are, sliced and ready to use.
And here are the other items, sterilized. The jars, the rings, the rocks and the lids. You can also see a few intact leaves I saved to put on top of the vegetables to help keep them under the brine.
I put a teaspoon of caraway seed in the bottom of a jar. I am just trying this to see if it adds a nice flavor.
Ok, so now I'm ready to start putting the greens into the jar. Here is the canning funnel, which will help.
I put in a handful of greens and then pack them down vigorously with this wooden thing. You could use anything you have that would work, even your fist, I suppose.
All the sliced greens are now packed into one jar. I did not know how it would work out, and that is why I boiled two jars. (Actually, after I finished this, I started a jar of cabbage kraut in the other jar, since it was all ready.)
I put the whole leaves on top and added two rocks. One might do it, but there was room for two.
Here I have poured in the brine. (recipe below)
And here it is with the lid on. Isn't that pretty?
If you would like to see more about this sort of thing, go here and watch this lady's series of videos. This is where I got the courage to give it a try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpQmYmyeVog
Boil 2 quarts of chlorine-free water and then add 3 Tablespoons of sea, or kosher salt (not table salt which has additives.)
Allow to cool to room temperature.
How to proceed
How to prepare everything is shown above. Now the jar will sit at room temperature for 3 days and then I will keep it in the fridge. Let it sit for 3 weeks in cold storage. Then smell it, taste the brine, and make sure it's ok. If it is pleasingly sour, it can be used then. It might take a little longer.
If the brine tastes BAD, then throw it all out and try again.
Like I said, this is an experiment and I really don't know if it will work out, but I will let you know!