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When I first started making vegetable ferments I followed the sage "3 days at room temperature" advice. By that time they were most likely bubbling so they were fermented, right? So I’d pop them in the fridge and we’d start eating them straight away.

There were other batches that went straight into the fridge for food storage and some of those half-gallon jars we didn’t dig into for months. These always had a slightly different flavor and texture but I didn’t find either unpleasant.

It wasn’t until I changed the way I stored my ferments that a whole world of fermented vegetable flavors began to open up.

When we moved off-grid, refrigerating ferments was no longer an option. So, I mostly ferment on the counter and after a week or two stash it away in a slightly cooler place, but nowhere near as cold as what you’d find in a refrigerator.

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There is a very different flavor to sauerkraut or carrot sticks at four days of fermentation vs. three weeks of fermentation. It’s my theory, after researching the different fermentative bacteria involved and the temperatures at which they proliferate, that the vegetables do much of their fermentation after the three day period, but prefer a warmer environment than refrigeration.

I personally love the flavor at all stages and the contrast in all of them. There is just something almost artisan about food that is different with every batch, each with their own unique flavors and textures.