Tuesday, March 3, 2009
One of the most common fermented foods is sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is an immune-boosting, flu-fighting, cancer-battling, digestive aid. Add to that, it's pretty darn easy to make, and there are so many variations. I've only made plain green cabbage sauerkraut so far, and I love it with burgers, in soups, and just to munch on! This time, I decided to jazz things up. There are two ways to make the sauerkraut. You can either use just salt in your ferment, or use whey (the easier version!). I'll do another post with the instructions for using whey. Below is the traditional "wild" fermentation.
wide mouth 2 quart glass jar (or half the recipe and use a 1 quart mason jar)
pint sized mason jar, or some other glass object to weigh down the vegetables
1 head of green cabbage, shredded
2 peeled and sliced apples
2 grated carrots
As I shredded the cabbage, I put handfuls in a clean, dry ceramic bowl. I'd sprinkle salt over the cabbage as I added it to the bowl. This helps to draw out the moisture. You want roughly 3 T sea salt for every 5 pounds of veggies. This is a rough estimation and can be experimented with!
Once all the vegetables are prepared, add them to the jar, packing down with the wooden spoon as you go. You want to release as much of the juices as possible. I hack at the veggies for a while. Sometimes I get carried away as I start to see the juice rising...Anyway. Once you have everything in the jar, use your "weight" to put pressure on the veggies. In an ideal world, you wouldn't have any spaces for air, but I do and it's fine. Press down on the weight as often as you can, to get the juices flowing. If, after 24 hours you don't see the liquid rising above the vegetable, add some water until the vegetables are fully submerged. You can let it sit out for...ever, or until it tastes tart and is still crunchy. You don't want it to get soggy, so taste often. Depending on the weather, it could take several days, weeks, or months! Mine is still fermenting, but after about a week or so, I'll cover it and stick it in the fridge! You'll want to cover the fermenting cabbage with a towel or some cheesecloth to keep bugs out, like below.