Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tasty Thursday: Sauerkraut!

I love, love, love fermented food and am expanding my horizons and beginning to make it myself.  This is my second batch of sauerkraut, curing in a gallon canning jar on the counter.  I wish I'd researched sooner because now that I have discovered how insanely easy it is to make I'll never purchase it again. 

The ingredients are 2lbs. cabbage to one tablespoon sea salt.  That's it!  You can of course adjust to whatever quantity of cabbage you have to work with.   I used beautiful heirloom conical heads from our organic farm share and decided to add a little dehydrated organic dill to this batch.  We are all crazy for dill in this house so I think we'll like it.  Next batch I'm going to experiment with adding some finely shredded carrot.

Remove the tough outer leaves and reserve, then simply slice the cabbage into thin strips, place it in a large bowl and add the salt.  Knead and massage the cabbage with your hands, working the salt into it.  The mixture will become very wet and the cabbage will begin to shrink as it releases its fluids.  Once it is nice and mixed, transfer to a jar or crock by the handful, tamping it down with your fist every now and then.  Push it down enough so that the fluid rises to cover the shredded cabbage.  When you have added all of the cabbage to the vessel and tamped it down firmly cover with the leaves.  This is important because the leaves will help keep the shredded cabbage fully submerged and prevent mold growth.  In order to keep the mixture firmly held down place a water-filled jar or zipper bag on top of the hard outer leaves.

Tamp down daily.  I began tasting the first batch at five days out.  My family began eating it at seven days out so I placed it in the fridge at that time.  I can't say how long it lasts because around here it was consumed in a week.

Have you ever made sauerkraut?  Did you add anything besides salt and cabbage to it?  I'd love to hear your ideas and experiences.

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