As a recipient of a reasonably generous CSA, you will find that massive vegetable surplus’ spontaneously occur. For those of us that are seasonal eaters, this full stock of food can be a blessing as it eliminates many food costs. Sometimes when busy times with high overlap crunch down on us, however, our refrigerators become overflown with beautiful vegetables that are at risk of being neglected or wasted. Lacto-fermenting is a wonderful way of making sure that those beautiful home-grown vegetables will not only last longer, but be in a compact, ready-to-eat form. Not only is Sauerkraut better for you than raw or cooked cabbbage, its delicious!!!
Making sauerkraut is very simple. Most people think that they need a crock or large container to make kraut, but I find it much more accessible to ferment in jars.
-1 wide-mouth Mason jar, preferably of a large size.
-1 small jar that is thin enough to fit through mouth of the Mason jar
– Sharp knife
-Salt (note: Lactobacillus is the only salt-tolerant bacteria; since this is the beneficial bacteria that we seek to create sour flavors and health benefits, sauerkraut is completely safe for human consumption)
-Spices like hot peppers, ginger, and garlic (this is optional, and creates similar flavors to the Korean ferment known as Kimchi)
-1 cabbage head of any size; whatever your particular head is lacking in size can be made up for with other vegetables
-Any vegetable you desire! Any vegetable can be fermented and after all, this is about putting surplus vegetables to use. Finely chopped or grated root vegetables like beets, turnips, carrots, etc. add depth in flavor, texture, and nutrient content.
– Grate or Chop cabbage finely
-Add to mixing bowl
-Salt as you add cabbage to the mixing bowl
-Add spices, or any other vegetables if you prefer
-Mix ingredients together, as the salt draws moisture out of your mixture.
-Transfer your mixture into a jar, using a blunt kitchen tool to pack the shredded vegetables in as tight as they can. The sheer moisture from this packing will start to pour out and rise above the mixture. This is the brine that will protect your ferment from unwanted microbes
-Put your small jar into the mouth of the large jar; this will keep the kraut submerged in the brine, and greatly reduce the chance of mold.
-Cover with cheese cloth to keep bugs out. Fasten with a rubber band.
-Store in a safe place where it won’t be knocked over
Sauerkraut can be ready as quickly as 3 days in summer time, or take weeks in colder seasons. It is up to you to decide when your ferment is ready; you can do this by tasting it every day to observe the variable flavors that occur.
When it is ready to your liking, refrigerate it!
Don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out! be bold in your experimentation! it is an extremely gratifying and simple thing to do! Try it!
–Posted by Kane Pour