MEGA Ferment Your Vegetables (aka My Book) Giveaway!

You may have heard (because I don’t stop talking about it about it a whole lot) that my book, Ferment Your Vegetables, was published a few weeks back. It is mighty exciting for me to finally hear the feedback from readers and to settle in to this post-writing phase, where I get to share the book that I worked so hard on and, happily, return to my normal schedule of teaching fermentation classes and (yes, they’re back!) regular blog posts sharing my fermenty love.

Ferment Your Vegetables Book Cover

The Mega Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer Giveaway is happening now. Win one of FIVE copies on

I’ll be sharing a couple recipes from the book this week, and a few details about the process. But today is all about the giveaway! My publisher, Fair Winds Press, has generously agreed to give away five copies of Ferment Your Vegetables! The winners will be selected early next week, so you plan some time for making your own kimchi, kvass, kraut, pickles and SO much more during your cozy, indoor holiday time.

I wish you luck and I hope that the spirit of fun, joy, experimentation (and VERY specific recipes including both metric weight and volume measurement to accompany all that) that make me really proud of this book, will make you enjoy reading and fermenting from it!

This giveaway is open to folks living in the lower 48 United States.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimchi Butter from Lucky Peach

I really like Lucky Peach Magazine. It makes me laugh. I usually like the recipes, the writing is great (especially the puns) and there is a little bit of that celeb excitement when favorite chefs and food artisans share personal stories. Also, there’s a TON of fermentation. It’s pretty hard to page too far through an issue without ending up in bubbly, funky, aromatic territory.

Kimchi butter for breakfast

In the most recent issue, I was drawn to the recipe for kimchi butter from North Bakery. They specifically called it out as a cream cheese-alternative for bagels, which is what originally drew me. I’ve made cream kimcheese a few times, and I thought it was really tasty, but they’re method was a little different from mine (see also: better than), so I thought I’d give the butter a shot.

A favorite part of my obsessive fermentation habit is coming up with new and exciting ways to eat my ferments. A personal passion of mine is seeking out ways to make sure that leftover bits chillin’ in jar bottoms and super-beat ferments don’t end up in the compost pile (to that end: Pickled Eggs, Using Up Excess Brine and Whey, etc.).

Kimchi butter on everything bagel

Kimchi butter is good on bagels, but it’s great on eggs.

So when I see recipes that use ferments, I’m always looking for ways to sub in the not-so-perfect specimens. So I was psyched when I came across this Lucky Peach recipe just as I discovered a way-past-its-prime quart of mushy cucumber kimchi taking up space in the fridge for a while now, so I decided to sub that for the unspecified kimchi called for in the recipe. It worked just as well as the freshly fermented napa cabbage version.

This actually got better in the fridge over the course of a few days. One difference of opinion with the good folks as North Bakery: skip it as a bagel topper (go kimchi cream cheese for that!). Instead, use it where you would normally use butter. Sautee veggies, scramble eggs (especially this), spread it on raw radish slices. It’s a secret garden of flavors with a micro pinch of heat that is utterly surprising in a wide variety of dishes.

Kimchi Butter Recipe


Feel free to do this exact same thing with cream cheese rather than butter. It’s really, really good. I even convinced a couple of non-kimchi lovers into loving it on top of a tasty, local bagel. I definitely prefer a version made with a kimchi that went a bit too long in the fridge. This is a great way to avoid food waste!

Closely adapted from North Bakery’s recipe in Lucky Peach Magazine, Winter 2015


  • 1 cup kimchi (preferably the past-its-prime stuff you find in the back of the fridge)
  • 1/2 lb of butter, room temp
  • splash of sherry vinegar (I’ve substituted other types of vinegar and omitted vinegar altogether with good results)
  • salt, for seasoning (optional)


  1. Blend the kimchi in a food processor until it’s pretty smooth, as pictured. If your butter  isn’t already at room temp, take it out the fridge and set it on the counter.
  2. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the kimchi mixture into the strainer. Use a spatula to get as much kimchi as possible into the strainer. Lightly press down on the mixture to force some liquid through, then give the whole thing a stir, and let it sit and strain for at least an hour, until the mixture is dry enough to pull away from the strainer in a dough-like clump.
  3. Don’t toss the liquid! It makes a great sauce or braising liquid!
  4. When the kimchi is looking close to done, break out the hand mixer or the stand mixer and beat the butter until fluffy and whipped, 3-5 minutes. Add the kimchi solids from the strainer and mix on high until the kimchi and butter form a uniform paste. If using vinegar, add it while mixing. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  5. Cover tightly and store in the fridge. It’s much more spreadable at room temp, but if you’re using it to fry eggs or onions, straight from the fridge is fine.
Kimchi cream cheese on black sesame bagel

Spread thin or thick. Best on a toasted bagel. Orange bagels!

They Can’t All Be Winners! 5 Fermentation Recipes That Really Stink

Fermented Garlic Scapes are gross

While I was writing my book, an unexpectedly enjoyable thing happened; I discovered that finding out what I completely and totally hated (fruit in kraut? Pretty much never for me, thanks) was actually fun! I tested many hundreds of recipes to get to the final recipes that are in Ferment Your Vegetables and most of them didn’t make it into the book.

There are a lot of reasons certain recipes didn’t make the cut. Some were too similar to others that were better. Some I knew I needed to test and tweak more and there simply wasn’t time.  A very few, falling into a distinguished category, were just truly gross. All of those, I retested several times before giving up, because I thought something must have actually gone wrong in fermentation. As it turned out, nope. They were just epic recipe fails.

Whether or not the final product of fermentation is tasty can be subjective. So maybe you’ve tried something similar to one of the below and loved it (you’ll even find some hedging in what I wrote about these bad guys!). If so, that’s awesome. We probably can’t be friends and I’d like to not eat dinner at your house one day, but still, to each her own. For the rest of you, I thought you might enjoy sharing in the strange pleasure that can only come from a truly spectacular recipe failure.


Here are 5 recipes that never made it to the tasters or recipe testers:

Kale-chi – (Notes on the recipe: “What’s new bitterness, woah-oh-oh-oh-oh?”) I’ve fermented kale before and it’s fine when it ferments with friends, but on its own, it can get crazy bitter. I thought maybe, just maybe, kimchi fixins would temper the bitterness. Then I thought if I found the right number of days to ferment, the bitterness might not be an issue at all. Turns out, nope. The only thing that tasted kinda good was the unfermented version, and Phickle doesn’t not ferment fermentable things. (Come on now).

Fermented kale recipes aren't good

Turns out, even kimchi-fying kale doesn’t make it a good ferment in my book.

Garlic Scape Pickles – (Notes on the recipe: Jake-“Never serve these to anyone.” Me-“Flavor amazing. Texture, string-like and terrifying.”) I wanted so badly for this to work. Mostly because I had what I thought was a stunning idea for the photo. Yes, yes, mock if you will, but I was really excited about how beautiful these would look wrapped in the jar when a pro photog got her hands on it.

Since the photo was so important to me, I only tested this recipe with whole scapes, which I just learned was at least partially responsible for their horrible texture. Carly and Dave over at Food & Ferments just released a limited edition garlic scape pickle that is off the charts awesome. Their method—smaller pieces, longer fermentation—makes for a killer pickle. So when the next scape season rolls around, make sure to chop first and go long on fermentation and you’ll be a happy, stinky camper. Just goes to show that a little flexibility can go a long way in fermentation.

Garlic Scapes Fermented

The reason I have these photos? I wanted the photog to see how they looked beautifully wrapped in the jar. Too bad the texture was the worst and these should never be eaten by anyone. Ever.


Guaca-kraut – (Notes on the recipe: “When the avocado amount is small enough to avoid the rancid smell/flavor, you can no longer really name this anything related to guac.”) Guacamole is my fat of choice. I could honestly, easily eat a bowl of it or a salted avocado every day and still crave more.

I’ve had mixed results incorporating fats into kraut in the past. They tend to go rancid quickly and make for some pretty off smells. I was determined, though, to get the ratio right so that it would work as a thing that could sit in my fridge for a good long while and serve as a tasty, protbiotic guac substitute when I didn’t have the time to whip up a batch. My determination did not pay off. Anything other than the negligible addition of avocado led to gross texture, unpleasant colors and rancid flavors.


Mustard Seed Carrot Kvass – (Notes on the recipe: “Farts. Just farts. Why is this farts?”) If you checked out the table of contents on my book launch day post, you may have noticed that there’s a whole chapter on vegetable kvass. I spent a lot of bandwidth testing kvass recipes. I developed some herb kvasses that I really loved, and I thought, hey, why not a spice kvass? I tried a couple that were okay but needed more tweaking, but I thought a mustard seed kvass (mustard seeds are great additions to krauts and pickles!) with a little carrot would work out wonderfully. I was wrong. It wasn’t wonderful. It was traumatic.

Sometimes when the smell is off in a veg ferment, it may just need a couple more days of fermentation, or maybe a little time in the fridge before it’s ready. Sometimes the smell isn’t great (I’m looking at you, pickled Brussels sprouts), but the taste is. In this case, the smell and the taste were both horrifically farty. I regret all four sips I took before this went down the drain.


mustard seeds for fermentation

I love mustard in SO many ferments. Mustard seed kvass was a big party pooper, however.


Piña Colada Kraut –  (Notes on the recipe: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!) I saved the worst for last. In the sauerkraut chapter of my book, there are several recipes that I affectionately, and privately refer to as my “weirdo krauts.” If you’ve got the book, these include favorites like Sauerkraut Satay (page 90) and Mediterranean Kraut (page 87). The weirdo krauts in general are some of my very favorite recipes in the book, and tasters and testers have strongly agreed with me, so it’s not like I regret the experiments. Some of these attempts, however, were nearly as successful as a Trump combover.

The worst of the lot was the Piña Colada Kraut. Every bite—every thing—was wrong with this kraut. I tried with a lot of different kinds of coconut (fresh, dried, shredded, sweetened, unsweetened, milk, water, etc) and the results either tasted not at all like coconut, had a really not good (slimy) texture or had a super oxidized, unpleasant flavor. The pineapple experiments were worse: dried, candied, fresh; it didn’t matter. All efforts produced a sulfuric, nose-destroying funk that brought tears to my eyes. This was definitely the worst fermentation experiment I’ve ever done, and that’s coming from the person who has grown some pretty impressive moldscapes in recent times.

Coconut Pineapple Sauerkraut Recipe

The absolute worst vegetable ferment I’ve ever made is Piña Colada Kraut. There isn’t enough “nope” in the world for this one.


I promise, I’m not telling you not to try this at home. Although these were some of the worst things I’ve ever tasted, I don’t regret my efforts for a minute. The spirit of fermentation (and the spirit of my book) is about finding what works for you, and quite literally, playing with your food. Sometimes spectacular failure is the most fun you can have in the kitchen.

So, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever made? Share your pain in the comments.

Ferment Your Vegetables Is Here! Get Your Book Signed!

Ferment Your Vegetables Book Cover

If you pre-ordered my book, Ferment Your Vegetables, right about now you’ll be seeing your copy on the doorstep. I couldn’t be more excited about that. I’m aflutter with butterflies, overwhelmed with excitement and ready to get it out there and show you what it’s got!

I’m not going to lie: making this book was big work. I spent a long time and a lot of thought working to make a book that would be helpful and inspiring to you. I wanted this book to fully explore every kind of vegetable fermentation I know and love. I wanted to build a guide that would inspire you (experienced fermenters) to explore areas you haven’t explored, but also one that was completely approachable and easy for you (folks who haven’t yet dived into vats of sour bubbly things) to use with total comfort.

Fermented Bell Peppers from Ferment Your Vegetables

So here’s some fun stuff in there that I think you’ll like:

Focus on technique – While recipes are important (and I really hope you love mine; I worked hard to make them awesome), you really don’t need me to tell you how to pickle every vegetable under the sun. I wanted readers to develop a deep understanding of how and why fermentation works, so that they (you) could feel free to experiment within the few “rules” of vegetable fermentation.

Photos – Just OMG, you guys. Courtney Apple did the photos and Barbara Botting did the styling, and I just want to brag on them all the time. I was on set for the entire shoot, and I truly believe that these two pros made the most beautiful possible photos that have ever been taken of fermented vegetables. That’s not hyperbole. I have never seen anything like these pics! They are stunners that make me feel really proud of the recipes I created.

Simplicity – Although there’s a whole section with some less common fermentation styles (nuka, Indian-style sun pickles, etc), Part Two of the book is dedicated to showing how simple vegetable fermentation can be. I truly believe that vegetable fermentation is a basic and essential cooking skill and I hope this book helps everyone to feel that way.

Fun  I love fermentation, not in small part because I have loads of fun with it. I want you to have fun with it too, and my goal was to infuse that spirit into the book.

Tradition + New Ideas – Looking for basic sauerkraut? We got you! Straight up, spicy kimchi? Plenty of it. Classic dill pickles? They’re here! BUT, I wanted to share my crazier favorites, too, so new and experienced fermenters alike could see that it’s fun and easy to move beyond mustard seeds and cabbage, into ingredients and flavors you may not have considered. Some of my favorite recipes in the book are the most unexpected ones. Don’t miss the Sauerkraut Satay, Carrot Cake Kraut, Celery Kvass or Pumpkin Spice Kimchi.

Ferment Your Vegetables Table of Contents

Whether you pre-ordered Ferment Your Vegetables long, long ago, or you’re just getting around to ordering, there’s time to get a signed copy! The first 100 people by Monday, 10/26 at 12pm EST to email me proof of purchase with the subject “Bookplate, Please!” will receive a personally inscribed book plate to place inside the book.

It’s a super cute sticker that I’ll make out to you (or the name of your choice) and send to you in the mail.

Carrot Cake Kraut from Ferment Your Vegetables

You can buy Ferment Your Vegetables in your local bookstores and online in all the normal spots.

North America

Barnes & Noble



Fillmore Container





If you see an Amazon link here, it may be an affiliate link. That means I get a small percentage back from purchases you make after you click. Your price remains unchanged, and I do appreciate it!  It gives me a little extra wiggle room for recipe testing and other fun fermenty things. 

All photos in this post were taken by Courtney Apple and styled by Barbara Botting. They are the property of Quarto Publishing.