gundru

early summer and the greens runneth over. what to do with all of these wonderfully robust leafy vegetables? usually when it gets out of control they find their way to the juicer, however this year experimenting with an age-old fermenting method of the Newar people of Nepal: GUNDRU.* one amazing feature of this ferment is that it requires no salt or brine, only hardy greens such as beet, turnip, collard, kale, mustard, basically any member of the brasscia family  (often collectively known as cruciferous vegetables) excluding lettuce. it’ll require lot’s of them! it took about three times as many greens as those shown in the picture above in order to fill a quart size jar.

what you need: grow some greens or get yourself a CSA or goto the farmers market (typically the greens you buy at the supermarket have been washed with chlorinated water and no longer have sufficient yeasts on them to provide a good ferment ) find a quart size jar with a screw top lid and a wooden dowel for smashing the greens into the jar (you might choose to make this by whittling a piece of hardwood that you find on a walk).

to make: wilt your greens in the sun for a couple of hours – this helps to make them a little more pliable and stuffable. next you can either cut out a little of the thicker stems if that is appealing, if you don’t grab a rolling pin and use it to crush the stems. then get your jar and stuff it. keep smashing and stuff’n until the jar is full and a brownish-green juice rises to the top. this stage will take some work. lastly, age it. place in the sun for two or four weeks (longer is ok) and let the lactobacilli get happy as it transforms into an enzyme enhanced, easily digested delicacy and preserves it along the way… be sure to back off just a little bit on the screw top lid so it doesn’t blow…

to eat: serve like pickles or dry it by hanging on a line (make sure it is good and dry before you pack it up so it doesn’t mold) then put in soups or eat like chips…

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*Sandor Ellix Katz, Wild Fermentation: The Flavour, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003)

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