Have you ever wondered about the lost art of preserving produce? Long before refrigerators, people knew how to preserve produce to eat throughout the winter. Nowadays, this topic is hardly talked about – and most of us don’t really eat these wonderfully nutrient-rich foods. Lacto-fermented foods have that name because the starches and sugars in the produce naturally turn into lactic acid as the vegetables start to naturally ferment and the lactic acid acts as a preservative. These foods are really designed to be eaten as condiments and enjoyed with most meals. They contain powerful enzymes, good gut bacteria and even anti-cancer substances. You can read more about this topic here: Lacto-Fermentation.
I am attempting to make homemade sauerkraut for the first time ever. I recently bought a sauerkraut crock – it is just a plain crock like THIS ONE.
Although I sort of wish I had gotten THIS ONE since it “self-burps” and also forms an airlock seal.
*Note, I only had 3 heads of cabbage, so I just altered recipe accordingly, but here is the original one:
about 7-9 heads of cabbage, shredded or diced small
1 Tbsp salt per head of cabbage
2 cloves garlic per head of cabbage
1 onion per head
1 bunch of dill
You basically want to beat, squeeze and/or smash the cabbage as you are adding it to crock (or whatever you are making it in). You can squeeze it with your hands, just crushing and squeezing as you add it OR you can use something to smash down as you are adding it. The salt will begin to naturally draw the water out of the cabbage. This water (or brine as it is called since it is mixing with the salt) is what will preserve it. The cabbage mixture needs to eventually all be COVERED completely by this brine. I read some sauerkraut instructions at Wild Fermentation that said if your sauerkraut mixture isn’t below the brine by about 24 hrs after initially making it then you will need to make your own brine to be sure it all can be submerged below it. (Making your own is easy – just dissolve 1 Tbsp salt in 1 cup of water). I needed to do this yesterday – adding about 4 cups of brine to be sure it was all submerged. Most crocks come with a weight, but mine didn’t it. You really need to have something heavy to push the sauerkraut mixture below the brine – most instructions say to use a plate with a weight/rock on top, etc. A friend suggested her grandma always filled up a garbage bag with water and used that on top in place of a weight. It conforms to the inside of the crock and will form an airtight pressure on top. SO, that’s what I’m trying!
I’ll let you know how it works! I’m supposed to check it every couple of days and remove any scum/mold that forms. Hopefully in about 4 wks I’ll have some delicious homemade sauerkraut!
By the way, there is a book I recently purchased that goes along with the Wild Fermentation website I mentioned above. I have only started getting into fermented foods, but this looks to be a great resource on all thing fermented (think veggies, beer, etc):
****UPDATE: See my finished sauerkraut over at THIS LINK!*****
I’ll share more in the coming weeks on how my sauerkraut is doing, but for now I’d love to know if you have ever tried to make homemade sauerkraut? How did it turn out???
This was shared at: Gluten Free Cat