Here is not only how to ferment quince but also how to use it in a delicious and nutritious way. Black radish greens are some of the most nutritious things on this planet! I wanted to write a salad recipe with fermented quince since it is so fresh and light. It reminds me of leafy greens. In the fermentation process, actic acid bacteria transform sugars into lactic acid so we can use it like an acidic vegetable rather than a fruit. I chose black radish greens and found the radish root an interesting match. While this is definitely a rather bitter salad I do enjoy it and want to come back to it occasionally.
Bitter compounds are very important for our health. We are so used to excluding bitter flavours from our palette that it’s harder to enjoy them for us (here another recipe celebrating bitterness and explaining how our sense for flavour is shaped and trained). While our personal sense of flavour starts to shape in the bellies of our moms it is pretty remarkable how much it is depending on habit as well. Say you are travelling in India. First, the richness of spices might be overstimulating or monotonous but soon you will get used to them and perceive them as if they were pepper. To make use of our flexibility it is in the interest of our health to celebrate bitter flavours once in a while.
Writing Recipes I Want to Eat Regularly
Of course, the goal is not to eat things we don’t enjoy but rather to make them enjoyable. We learned one factor in enjoying bitterness is habit, another other is good pairing. We can take note of the fact that acidity cuts bitterness. Even if you want to embrace bitter flavours it’s generally nice to give your salad a fresh acidic kick. Trust me when I say that I would definitely like to eat a bitter black radish salad like this – not every week probably but every second. Throughout my time writing recipes, I have been experimental here and there, doing something just to experience or find out something. I have changed. Now, with every recipe I write I attempt to create something I want to come back to regularly.
How to Ferment Quince
1. Slice the quince lengthwise into about 1/2 to 1-inch wedges. Put a clean mason jar on a scale and push the tare button. Place the quince into the jar.
2. Add water until the quince can be covered by it. Calculate 2% of that weight and add that much salt into a large bowl. Pour only the water out of the jar into the bowl and mix the liquid until all the salt is dissolved.
3. Pour the brine into the jar and add something that weighs down the quince so absolutely no part of the quince is exposed to air. For example, this could be a plastic bag filled with water (make sure no water comes out), a glass that you can push down with the lid when closing it.
4. Close the lid without screwing it completely tight.
5. Let sit for at least a week.
Here are other ideas on how to submerge your ferment under the brine. Using pretty ripe quinces, I made the experience that you need about 3 weeks to get a characteristic lacto pickle flavour. If you want to benefit from the probiotic properties of lacto-fermented foods, letting the cultures thrive is the way to go. Note that with this version you have pieces well-sized for snacking or just serving them on a small plate along with your meal.
Heavenly Greens of Root Vegetables
People often just toss the greens of root vegetables as if they weren’t edible! They are not just edible but actually phenomenally healthy. They are more nutritious than any romaine lettuce. I am not an expert on this but I guess the reason why they are is that we haven’t cultured them to taste sweet and less bitter. We’ve cultured the plant for the root, not the greens. That’s perhaps why the natural nutrition profile of the greens is less affected than of greens that have been cultured for greens. Anyhow, we know for sure how nutritious they are.
That’s why, whenever I can find them, I prefer root greens to common greens like lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, spinach etc. They are cheaper, too. You get a root with it. Sometimes the strong flavours of those greens don’t work out on their own but then you can help out with common greens or delicious sauces. One of the easiest ways to use a lot of them is to process them in a smoothie, soup or sauce. The goal is to include them.
Fermented Quince in Black Radish Salad with Its Greens
- 2 black radishes with greens
- ¼ cup fermented quince
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- Grate the radish root, remove the greens from the stalk and chop them roughly. You can finely chop and use the stalks in a stew for example.
- Finely slice the quince lengthwise, and cut it into 4 pieces.
- Combine the radish root with the quince and some lemon juice. Top with the greens on the side and add lemon juice and olive oil. Enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here is another way to use quince in a salad.