Happy Almost Almost-Christmas time!
I have a personal rule that Christmas season starts after Thanksgiving. But, now it is fair game in my books and I plan on Christmas Bombing this site. Hope you don’t mind because it is, after all CHRISTMAS!
I totally blew it posting recipes for Holidays so far. I did do something for Mother’s day, but no Fourth of July recipes, and no Labor Day weekend recipes. We personally don’t celebrate Halloween, so no recipes for that, and I did not post a single Thanksgiving recipe!
However, I have been dreaming up fun allergy- friendly Christmas recipes, and starting it off today with perhaps the easiest of them all– honey fermented pomegranate relish. Which is a fun Christmas-y topping for just about anything.
I realize that fermented can be a scary word, if you would prefer you can call this probiotic honey pomegranate relish if it makes you feel better. But, “fermented” is NOT a bad thing! In fact, I think it is pretty awesome. It can change the form of foods, preserve them, make them probiotic, etc. Examples that are seen even now a days, when fermenting foods is somewhat of a lost art, are true sauerkraut (but most are heated and lose all of the good probiotics), kombucha, true kosher pickles, kimchi, soy sauce, miso, alcohols, true sour dough…the list goes on and on and on and on.
Sadly even traditionally fermented foods you can get on the store have been heated and lose some of their nutritional value. Which is why it is a great idea to do it yourself, and while it sounds scary, it is quite easy.
I have been fermenting foods off and on for several years, and I have been on a fermenting kick lately. Thanks mostly to joining Fermenter’s Kitchen on facebook. That group rocks, and really inspires me.
One thing I saw there that I had never heard of was honey fermenting foods. I always thought honey killed ferments, turns out that is not the case as it is the high sugar content that preserves it. When a bit of water is added fermentation naturally occurs. In this case, adding fruit to the honey allowed it to start doing it’s thing. I only let it go a week, but when I opened it I heard happy fizzes and got a tiny bit of a honey spray, it was a happy ferment. Longer would create a stronger taste, and I am going to do a batch later today in hopes of having the self control to let it go for a bit longer! We shall see.
With just going a week, it is a pretty mild ferment, there isn’t much of a distinctive taste, but I really think there is a bit of flavor enhancement going on. This is so delicious, I have been topping so many things with it. I have a sad little bowl of pumpkin pudding, and BAM I Christmas-bomb it with this pomegranate relish. The crisps sack of juice, the cinnamon punch, a bit of orange and ginger and the bright red color.
Another benefit is in one sitting I can seed several pomegranates and have seeds are live-preserved with fermentation and ready, but still delightfully fresh tasting, with some supporting flavors, for my food-topping pleasure. Then there is extra honey-brine which is also incredibly delicious. It can be used for smoothies, tea (will loose the raw honey benefits and probiotics if it is too hot), oatmeal, drizzled on fruit, as part of a salad dressing, ect. Seriously the possibilities are endless!
I am afraid I sound like an infomercial… but will take that risk to tell you how delicious and versatile this relish is. But, on to one of the cooler parts of this– the fermenting.
In Which I Share My Love for Fido Jars
(Psst. I do use my affiliate link to the fido jars, as well as a few in the recipe.)
I can hardly end this post without telling about something I recently learned. I have been fermenting in mason jars for several years, and they require burping if you do not use special modification that allows them to off-gas. Well, turns out that there is a much easier way to ferment and so far my results with it have far surpassed any ferments I have done in the past. The secret? Fido jars, which is what I have pictured above. I recommend starting with what you have, but I can say from experience if you can start a fido jar collection, do so.
The magic of the fido jars is they keep air out, but let off-gassing occur. When food ferments gas builds up and if it is not released you can have exploding glass jars. The solution is to burp, but you lose some of the crispiness you would otherwise have. For example kraut fermented in these jars has a crispness, where as all of my previous batches of sauerkraut were DELICIOUS but mushy. The flavor also seems better, possibly because of no yeast getting in? I am not very sure. I am far from an expert, but I just know I have been loving the results.
Anyway, back to the jars. I feel silly not knowing this. I have had clamp jars sitting in my cabinets for ages, and always reach for the mason jars first because I did not realize the benefit of the fido. How it works is the gas builds up and when it has built up enough it lifts the lid enough for it to escape. But, there has to be pressure for it to happen, meaning the food is still safe from oxygen.
When fermenting foods oxygen is frequently (but not always) the enemy. When lacto fermenting vegetables for example it allows the food to mold before the sugars turn to to lactic acid. With the fido jars I haven’t even been weighing my food down to keep it beneath the brine. So, that makes it much easier. I know a lot of people still suggest still weighing the food down, but right now I am experimenting with not needing to, and if I ever see the need to I will. It is my little experiment, one that is going extremely well I have done several foods in the fido jars all turning out great.
I do have some off brand ones that I know work, and also a few that don’t. While I am building up my collection I am getting a few here and there from amazon. I have 4 1 liter jars, 1 3 liter fido jar + 2 off brand I got from walmart that work (not sure the brand, but not fido). I plan on getting several more 3 liter jars as I am buying 40 lbs of cabbage soon to make sauerkraut and since I order off of amazon a lot, plan on getting 1-2 of the 1 liter jars as I have a few extra dollars and/or need more to get free shipping.
*End Fido Jar Love Letter and gets to the recipe already*
- 3 cups pomegranate seeds (3-4 pomegranates) (see how to easily seed them below)
- 1½ tablespoons fresh granted ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (or use 1 3" cinnamon stick)
- zest of 1 small orange or large lemon
- ~1¼ cup raw honey (must be raw!)
- Spend three hours seeding the pomegranate, or alternately follow the method shown in the video below.
- Put everything, but the honey in a jar, I use and recommend a 1 Liter Fido Jar, but I think any jar could work with daily maintenance.
- Cover the fruit with honey, and stir in. Let sit for a few minutes for any air bubbles to escape, top off. It is a lot of honey, but can be used on it's own right later on.
- Let sit in a dark spot warm-ish spot for at least a week. Taste and put in the fridge to halt fermentation or let it keep going. If using just a mason jar rotate each day to cover the fruit in honey, then burp. I have not tried this, but have seen similar recipes that call for that.
- Top puddings, panna cottas, fruit, ice cream, meats and creamy cheeses ect. with the pomegranate seeds for a fun Christmas-y topping. Save the honey for use in cold sweetening applications such as smoothies, popcycles, ice cream ect. It is a flavored honey, and is delicious on it's own right. You can also heat it for things like tea and coffee, but will lose some of the nutritional properties.