Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sauerkraut for Dummies...or Smarties: Fermented Vegetables

Sauerkraut is a love of mine and always has been.  I love it's vinegary, pickly taste.  Perhaps if you do not share my affections for this lowly vegetable it is because you have tried the store-bough varieties.  That stuff pickled in brine and lying there limp on in the can or bag is no longer what I consider to be sauerkraut.  It looks dead because it is.  Put aside what you thought sauerkraut was and relish with delight every bite of your new-found love...cultured cabbage.  Fermenting foods is one of the oldest methods of food preservation.  The liquid that is given off by the fermentation process becomes lactic acid.  It is one of the necessary components and is also responsible for helping your body more readily assimilate the nutrients you are feeding it.

Method One - the simplest.  This is my Basic Sauerkraut Recipe.  Nothing fancy, mellow flavor.  Click here for a great demonstration found on YouTube.

Tools you will need:
  • Get the kids involved.
  • 3-4 Heads of organic cabbage.
  • Large stainless steel bowl.
  • A smasher, hammer, or mallet-like object for breaking down the cabbage.
  • Sharp knife
  • Fermentation crock or jars
  • Salt
  • Filtered, boiled water - to your liking, up to 3.5 cups

  1. Use the knife or food processor to shred the cabbage...all of it.  If you use the knife be certain to slice into thin ribbons in order to create a small surface area which is broken down faster.
  2. Place the cabbage in the bowl in batches, depending in the size of the bowl and really work to break it down.  Let the kids squeeze and smash and smoosh and twist to get the cabbage to give up as much liquid as possible.
  3. Mix in up to 3T of Real Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt.
  4. Begin to pack your container(s), push down, stuff in some more, until you have about an inch of space at the top of the vessel and liquid completely covers the entire surface area
  5. Press down the jarred cabbage once more and add any additional cabbage from bowl in order to pack tightly and

     help it stay submerged under the liquid.
  6. Put the lid on jars (if using) with the bands loosely tightened to allow the gases to escape.
  7. Put on the counter for 7,-28 days, depending on your tastes, then refrigerate.
Living Life for Him,
The Cultured Mom

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