Recently I have become interested in cultured or ‘fermented’ foods. I think it all started when I learned to make bread, then my curiosity grew after getting hooked on the show “Good Eats”. Alton Brown is a rare breed, I like to call him a ‘Geek Chef’, and in the show he teaches us why food does what it does on a micro-level. I learned from him about drying food (beef jerky), the inside scoop on coffee, and of course, how bread becomes so amazing through yeast.
Then I watched the four-part series called “Cooked”, and I learned so much about why we cook our food, and about probiotics. This led to me taking a class last week on fermenting foods. It was free, and I was curious what the speaker had to say. Turns out she’s a farmer who lives just a few miles from me, and she had a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
She handed out a few starter recipes, and one of them was Sauerkraut. We even got a demonstration of how to make it during the class. All it is is cabbage, salt, and time. I decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad I did!
I started with chopping up a head of cabbage, and adding 2tsp of salt. *The recipe says add up to 1 Tblsp of pickling salt, to taste*
Then I mashed it up a little bit, covered it with a towel, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
This allows time for the salt to draw the liquid out of the cabbage.
Then, we mashed it some more. With four kids, this was super easy for me to just have them take turns!
Don’t look at these pictures and think, ‘Oh, her kids are such good helpers!’
No, my kids just like to smash things.
After we could see a moderate amount of liquid in the bowel, I squeezed the cabbage into a mason jar, and pressed it down into the jar until the juices covered the top leaves.
Then, to keep the cabbage under the liquid, I took one remaining leaf and placed it on top, and closed the lid. *Keeping the cabbage under the juices is important*
Then, I sat it on the counter and waited.
**UPDATE** Each day you need to ‘burp’ the container, meaning open the lid a bit to release some of the air pressure building up inside. Do this about 2-3 times a day until it’s finished fermenting, then put it in the fridge. At this point you no longer need to burp it.
Finally, after four days it looked (and smelled) like sauerkraut. I have to admit I was kind of nervous about tasting this. Don’t worry, I was the first taste tester!
And it was surprisingly delicious! The sauerkraut was crunchy and tangy, just like it’s supposed to be. All but one of my kids enjoyed eating it.
Any thoughts or questions on pickling or fermenting foods? Comment below!
Thanks for stopping by!