Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Sauerkraut

So I found another food that my husband will not allow me to make in the kitchen ever again; sauerkraut. He doesn't like it at all- its smell, taste, look. He won't even sit near me when I eat it, even the storebought stuff. Well, his loss. I've always been a fan of sauerkraut. Maybe its the crispness, that sour taste, the brine. Whatever it is, when I made it myself I just might never buy it from the store ever again. It just has that something extra. Not only does it taste great, but its good for you too. I found this recipe in Sandor Ellix Katz's book Wild Fermentation, and tweeked it to my liking. Enjoy! 

What you'll need:
A crock to ferment in
a small plate that fits inside the crock
a large cup or vessel that will fit on top of the plate inside the crock and can be filled with water
a clean towel or cheesecloth

1/2 head of green cabbage
1/2 head of red cabbage
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
pinch of caraway seeds
pinch of celery seeds
container of sea salt

Finely chop up the cabbage, and as you're putting the cabbage into a big bowl, every now and then sprinkle salt on it (overall you want about 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of salt for 1 head of cabbage). I used 2 halves of cabbage, but if you have a big enough crock you can use the whole ones. Chop up the shallots, and mince the garlic. Add those to the bowl, adding salt. Grate the carrots, add to the bowl, add salt. Add the caraway and celery seeds to the bowl. The salt will draw the moisture out of the vegetables, so make sure to mix well.
Start packing the mixture into the crock. Pack it in well, you should have no pockets of air, and possibly have liquid rising from the mixture. After you've packed in all of the vegetables, you should have enough liquid to cover. I didn't, so I added brine. Make brine from 1 tbsp of salt added to 1 cup of water. I added enough brine to cover the mixture.
Put the plate on the mixture, and a full cup of water on top of that (the cup adds weight so the vegetables don't touch the air). On top of this put a clean kitchen towel (so that dust can't get in). Let this sit on your kitchen counter (Or the next time I make it the garage or well ventilated (but not hot) place) to ferment. Try a little every day, until it has reached your favorite flavor and crunch. It took mine a week in the winter, but this is Vegas. If it is cooler it can take longer. Once it has fermented to your liking, store in the fridge (I put mine in a reused pickle jar).
There's all kinds of different ways to make sauerkraut, next time I might add more garlic and different seeds. Please let me know your favorite way to make it!