These plums from Colorado are the product of lacto-fermentation. It’s the same process that produces saurkraut, kimchi, and pickles and it’s a technique that’s been around for nearly ten thousand years in recorded history.
It’s a way of preserving food long before refrigeration was even conceived. By adding salt, starving the produce of oxygen and keeping the whole thing cool, the yeasts, molds and bacterias that can make us sick are killed off and the healthy, beneficial microbes remain. Lactobacillus is the ‘good’ microbe that makes these types of food so healthy. It improves digestion, increases vitamin levels, and even acts as an anti-inflammatory. Not only does lacto-fermentation preserve the food and make it ‘healthier,’ it adds completely different characters to the flavors of the original produce, in this case Paonia plums.
The folks at Ozuké use less salt than the traditional process and that lets the tangy and sweet flavors of the plum come through with each bite.These are definitely for the creative culinarian. You can use them for everything from garnish cocktails (Bloody Mary’s would be great) to creating appetizers that really impress. Try wrapping prosciutto
around the plum and serving that way. Chop the plums and toss them into a bitter green salad or macerate and use in a sauce for fish. The only way I wouldn’t recommend them is in stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. The saltiness just doesn’t quite fit!