Tag Archives: recipes

Sauerchi Recipe: Using Fennel in the Ferment

Fennel has wonderful versatility.  It provides a delicate and subtle anise-like sweetness, and every part of the plant has culinary use:  The root/bulb, stalks, fronds, flowers and seeds all have a role to play in fennel recipes.

In general, I find that the sugar-content and tenderness of fennel decreases as you go higher on the plant, while the anise-like sweet-spice flavor increases from bottom to top.  To me, this generally means

“use the bulb and lower, tender and younger stalks like a vegetable; use the higher stalks, fronds, flowers and seeds like herbs and spices”

Recently, I applied this principle using the Saueressen Process to create a fennel-spiced Sauerchi.  I used about a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of fennel to red cabbage by weight.  I chose turmeric due to its subtle earthy flavor to complement and enhance the fennel without overpowering fennel’s relatively delicate flavor.  I relied mostly on the fennel for the pesto, using just enough onion to smooth out the texture.

Recipe:  Fennel-Turmeric Sauerchi

  1. Brine the base ingredients:
    1. Shred and salt the red cabbage to prep it for the self-brine.
    2. Separate out the fennel bulb from the rest of the plant.  Shred it like you would cabbage, and mix it with the cabbage.
    3. Cover, weight and self-brine the fennel bulb-cabbage mixture for 24-48 hours, until the salt seems equally distributed throughout the brine.
  2. Sometime after step #1 above and #3 below, make the fennel pesto:
    1. Chop the fennel stalks and fronds perpendicular to the grain (so you don’t get something stringy and fibrous) into small chunks, no longer than 1″ (the shorter the better).
    2. Food process a generous amount of fennel seed with an onion base.   The onion provides additional sweetness and protection for the ferment, and it improves the texture of the pesto.
    3. Add the chopped fennel fronds and stalks to the onion-seed mixture and continue processing into a thick paste.
    4. Mix with turmeric, cover and set aside.
  3. Drain the brine from the base ingredients, mix with the pesto, and crock the Sauerchi.

While I never know how something’s going to turn out, I always strive to produce amazing flavors and combinations on the way in.  My first thought in tasting this recipe was, “I don’t want to share this with others!”  Always a good sign.  I should have approximately three gallons of this recipe available this winter.  And, yes, I plan to share it with others!


Full meal recipe: White Sturgeon

So, this is Saueressen’s first practical post to Ferment Revolution, aka the Saueressen Knowledge Base, dealing with how to incorporate live-cultured foods in everyday life.

I feel fortunate that tonight’s fare happens to deal with aspects of live-culture food crafting and use that we often ignore:  the “waste products.”  Really, we should completely eliminate that word waste from our vocabulary and thought patterns — both we and the world would benefit as a result.  Tonight’s recipe gives a very tangible example of what happens when we creatively use what we typically throw down the drain or onto the compost pile.

Tonight’s menu

  1. Wild winter salad featuring Saueressen dilly beets (coming soon!)
  2. Fennel-sauted white sturgeon
  3. Veggies in a garlic-herb brine

1.  Wild winter salad:  kale, brussel sprout greens, dandelions, arugula, sow thistle and kohlrabi coarse-chopped mixed with shredded dilly beets; lemon verbena, parsley, oregano and thyme fine-chopped; hothouse pickle dressing with vinegar and olive oil.  Live-active cultures via the pickle juice and dilly beets.

2. Fennel-braised white sturgeon:  coarse-chopped onion, carrots, and fennel stems browned and braised in pan w/white sturgeon and fennel seed; deglazed w/veggie brine

3. Veggies in garlic-herb brine: pan browned broccoli and summer squash with garlic and rosemary; deglazed, steamed and salted with veggie brine.


Heavenly, very satisfying meal.  I paid $8 for the wild-caught sturgeon and negligable $$ for everything else (the expensive stuff came out of the garden).

Prep time

about 1hr total, including gathering and processing ingredients.  I have ~2-3 more meals out of it.  15-20 min per meal?  Not bad.

Live-Culture Connection

Makes use of every aspect of live-culture food production:  the excess brines, the veggies themselves, and the leftover sour pickle juice (a great savory substitue for lemon juice!).  I can only guess at the nutrient density (the brines add lots of nutrients), but it *feels* fantastic.

Next Steps

I’ve only started cataloging live-culture food recipes.  How do you incorporate live-culture foods into your life?