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Fermenting fennel is always a good idea, and fennel with bell pepper is a real umami bomb. This fresh, savory side dish is especially good for a barbecue.
Fresh fennel bulbs are available, just in time for the BBQ season, from early summer through fall. By the way, you can recognize fresh fennel by the abundant amount of the aromatic, light green fennel fronds that winter fennel lacks.
In summer, the red bell pepper is also available ripe. Like the tomato, the bell bell pepper is botanically a fruit, but culinary a vegetable. A raw red bell bell pepper is 94% water, 5% carbohydrate, 1% protein, and contains very little fat. It is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B6. A red bell bell pepper provides twice as much vitamin C and eight times as much vitamin A as a green bell bell pepper. In addition, it tastes more sweet, and in this ferment it also provides the visual highlight in terms of color.
Fennel with peppers is a treat for the palate as a fresh salad; fermented, the delicate flavors complement each other even better, creating a veritable feast for your taste buds.
Fermented sweet bell pepper becomes soft
Red bell pepper is a vegetable that is actually not suitable for lactic acid fermentation. Due to its high water content, it becomes somewhat soft, almost mushy, and therefore not very edible in terms of consistency. However, very finely shaved, as in this ferment, this does not stand out negatively. Yes, the bell pepper becomes soft, but complements the fermented fennel perfectly. And not only by the fine, still slightly sweet acidity, but indeed by the almost creamy softness.
Fermented Fennel with peppers
- 1 bail jar, 0.75 liter
- 560 gr. fennel [about 5 bulbs]
- 260 gr. red bell pepper [ca. 1 ½ Schoten]
- 1 [about 1 ½ pods] [fresh]
- 1 tbsp fennel fronds
- 17 gr. salt [2% of the weight of the vegetables].
- Cut off the top of the fennel, separate the fennel greens and chop finely. Slice the fennel, the bell pepper and the chili with the vegetable slicer on the finest setting. Cover everything together with two teaspoons of salt (17 gr.) and just let it stand until brine appears. I treat fennel very gently because otherwise it becomes too soft for me.
- Stuff everything into a bail jar, and press down hard when you fill it so that no pockets of oxygen remain, and weigh it down to keep the small shreds from floating up. I recommend you use wide, flat weights with this ferment. Glass lids from Weck jars work great because they overlap so nothing can waft by. This is important to keep the vegetables out of contact with oxygen, so they stay in their anaerobic environment under the brine. Under the brine is fine! This is crucial, because everything exposed to the air could become mouldy.
- If you have the time, about 15-20 minutes, the osmosis will create enough brine by itself, so that all ingredients remain under the brine even after filling the jar. Otherwise just fill up with tap water. The salinity will then be somewhat lower, but still sufficient to provide an optimal lactofermentation environment.
- The optimum filling height is 1-2 cm above the fermenting produce and 2-3 cm below the rim of the jar.
- Place the glass in a dark rather than a light place and a bit warmer for the first week, at about 18° to 24° C at the most. If you have observed a perfect filling height, you do not need to worry further about the jar. If you fill jars too high, they will overflow during the fermentation process. Then you should put a plate underneath and clean the outside of the jar regularly.
- Let ferment for 3-5 weeks and refrigerate one night before consumption.
Fermented fennel with bell pepper and chili is a fabulously sweet and sour delicacy!
The ferment is a great topping for cold tofu! It also goes great as a garnish for spare ribs.
Do you know my other combination with fennel and beetroot? If you like fennel, you have to try this too!