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Kvushim -- Israeli style pickles

about 1 kg carrots
3 green bell peppers
2-4 chilies, preferrably fresh
1 head garlic
1 bouquet fresh dill

about 1 litre water
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 litre glas jar or similar

Rinse the carrots thoroughly, peel them if you like, then slice
them (1/2-1 cm slices) into a basin with cold water and a dash of
lemon so that they will keep crisp and well-coloured while you're
working.

Rinse the peppers and seed them, then dice them so that they
harmonize with the size of the carrots.

If you use fresh chili you will need to rinse the pods and make a
slit from one end to the other, you can leave the seeds inside.
You can use dry chili as is.

Peel the garlic cloves.

Rinse the dill thoroughly and remove any yellowish leaves.

Mix all the vegetables in the lemon water, then strain and put into
a glass jar. Finally add the weak salt brine so that all of the
veget- ables are covered and seal the jar. Place the jar on a
warm, not hot, spot.

The fermentation will most likely start already on the first day,
sometimes within a few hours, but latest on the second day. Lacto-
bacilli naturally present on the vegetables will metabolize some
of the carbohydrates, producing carbon dioxide and lactic and acetic
acids. It's a Good Idea(tm) to loosen the lid briefly once every
few days so that the carbon dioxide can escape, lest you want the
jar to burst from the built-up pressure. The production of acids
will lower the pH and together with the lack of oxygen will prevent
growth of other, and potentially harmful, bacteria.

During the process of fermentation the brine becomes milky because
of the abundance of lactobacilli feasting in the jar, this is how
it is supposed to be. After some 2-3 weeks' time the fermentation
will stop automagically because the pH is too low and because of
lack of readily available carbohydrates. The lactobacilli will
die and sink to the bottom of the jar. You can now eat the vegetables
although they will develop a better taste if left to themselves
for at least a couple of additional weeks.

So long as the jar hasn't been opened the contents will keep firm
and crisp for at least a year. After opening it will keep for a
month or so refrigerated. Sometimes you will experience a very
weak "post- fermentation" once the jar has been opened, this is
okay.

A couple of times in the past 15 years I have seen the garlics turn
bluish-green (the same way sunflower seeds can sometimes turn
greenish in cakes with eggs and bicarbonate), this will not affect
the taste nor the edibility of the vegetables.

You can use kvushim (meaning "pickles", pronounced "kuh-vooh 'sheem")
in soups, in salads, with meat dishes, in pita,s as a snack and
please don't limit yourself to using carrots and peppers. I have
successfully fermented e.g. green beans, beet roots and cucumbers
(each type of vegetable on its own). If you have access to vine
leaves they are just *great* with the cucumbers (throw in some
green grapes too!), in which case you would want to omit the dill.
Leaves from the blackcurrant bush are also good. Cucumbers made
this way are truly delicious in gazpacho, btw.

Forget about cabbages, though, and find yourself a good recipe for
making genuine sauerkrat instead, cabbages just don't turn out well
this way.

Experiment with the amount of garlic and/or chili -- try also other
kinds of vegetables available at your place.

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