Where your grandmother used to need preserving jars, heavy stones and patience, nowadays the pickle press does all the work. You put vegetables and salt in the press, and the spring applies so much pressure that the taste and texture of your vegetables changes in a few hours. Not that your carrots will taste like beets, but white cabbage will look a lot like sauerkraut. You want to try that, right?
Actually, you can ferment any type of vegetable. With vegetables, think of hard vegetables such as beetroot, cabbage, carrot, onion and pumpkin. Softer vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, and spinach turn mushy quickly, so ferment them briefly. Fruit can also be fermented well. Particularly peaches, plums, apricots and exotic fruits such as pineapple and mango work well.
Some basic rules for fermentation are:
If you keep these rules in mind, there is little you can do wrong. Not sure how long to keep the vegetables in the press? Taste every hour and trust your own taste. Is the pickle too salty? Discard the liquid and taste again.
We also have one practical explanation of how to use the pickle press, including spices and seasonings that give your pickle more character.
Oh yes, and do you want to know how your grandmother actually used to do that, with those heavy stones and stuff? Read about the mystery of fermentation explained by Japanese professor Takeo Koizumi.