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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sauerkraut

Somehow after making all those vegan cabbage rolls we still have a number of (smaller) cabbages rolling around in the pantry - which was great, because we got to make sauerkraut! When salt meets cabbage, magic happens.


You'll need:

2 medium sized cabbages (if you mix red and green cabbages, you'll get bright pink kraut!)
3 tablespoons sea salt
Large ceramic crock/two large mason jar/clean plastic bucket.

1. Finely shred your two cabbages. You can use a mandolin, or a knife (and some patience). On a recent visit to Poland, we learned that you can use a vegetable peeler to make finely shredded cabbage for kraut - so you can use that too! Save a few of the larger, outer leaves - you'll need these later.
You can add other fruits/vegetables/spices as well to liven up our kraut - shredded carrots, beets, onions, apples, juniper berries - be creative!

2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage in the sea salt.

3. Pack the salted cabbage into your fermentation container of choice. This part is magic. You will look at your huge mound of cabbage, and you will look at your (less huge) container, and you will think 'no way this is going to fit.' It will. It will, because you will be packing it in there with a wooden spoon until it submits.

4. Pack the sauerkraut into your fermentation container until the juice from the cabbages covers the cabbage itself. The cabbage should be completely submerged in juice. No need to add water for this to happen - just keep packing it in.


5. Take some of the outer leaves you set aside earlier, and pack them snugly on top of the kraut. Additionally, we often take ziplock bags with a little bit of water in them and fit them into the crock. This will prevent too much of the juice from evaporating, but will still let the gasses escape. If you're using large mason jars, fasten the lids very loosely.

6. Check on the kraut every few days. If a bit of mold forms on top, no worries - just skim it off. If it looks like the brine is evaporating and receding below the level of the cabbage, either push the cabbage down below the level of the brine or (if you need to) add a little bit of water to top it up.

7. After a week or so, taste the kraut. It will still be pretty crunchy and young at this point, the flavors will continue to change and develop as it ages. I like kraut best after about three weeks - but keep tasting and see when you like it best!









3 comments:

  1. Woman, you're a wonder! Home-made kraut can change ANYONE'S mind about sourkraut--light, bubbly on the tongue, sour without being heavy, with a fermenting tang thrown in. Heaven! Then you can can it and as long as it isn't too old, you can have this subtle, complex condiment all year. And no matter what , it'll beat store-bought every time.

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  2. I just had my first taste of our sauerkraut yesterday, and it wins over any sauerkraut I've tasted yet, hands down. No surprise there, as it was pummeled by hand with love and made from our organic garden cabbages. But seeing as I've been eating kraut since I could chew, I'm duly impressed. Let's grow more green cabbages next year!

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