Monday, June 29, 2009

Sauerkraut making

On Sunday I have done some sauerkraut the way my mom taught me. I will read all fancy GAPS fermenting recipes later. For now I do what I know.

I shredded four small cabbages, bunch of carrots, and few onions. One of my onions was red and that is why you can see a bit of purple on the top of shredded vegetables. Then put it on layers into ceramic pot*, put some salt, and pound it with the wooden utensil that looks like a ball on the stick (what is it called in English I do not know) till the juice shows up. It might take a minute or two.

Then put another layer, salt it and pound again, repeat till the pot it almost full but not too full, and juice visible when you press the cabbage like on the picture. Do not stress a lot about putting too much salt. Taste it, and even when it seems to be a bit too salty know, that the some salt will be absorbed by vegetables during fermentation. Also if you will not have enough salt vegetables will spoil easier.

In the old country they were using stone to create weight, but I used plate and jar filled with water. That is to minimize air exposure to the vegetables, and prevent them from spoiling. Now the bacteria has to do its work and that depends from room temperature.

My mom liked to add some bailey leafs, and allspice, I like to put some garlic and ginger.

My mom would make sauerkraut once a year in the autumn when cabbage is plentiful and cheapest. She would fill big wooden barrel. My mom would wait a few days, helping release gases created during fermentation by poking the cabbage with a long stick, and then when cabbage was almost ready, she would pack it into glass jars. Vegetables in the jars would still ferment for a while and jars would sip some gas and juice from under tight lids making noises, and then they would naturally become airtight, and were transported too cooler cellar where could survive till next summer.

My operation is scaled down, and I have done it just a few times since last year when I found out that sauerkraut I buy in stores is pasteurized. I had such severe sauerkraut cravings this spring that I could eat 1 liter jar of tightly packed sauerkraut at one sitting and not even burp or have any gas afterwards.
My body is much smarter than I am. But I would not think about giving it to Sebastian as I thought it was too difficult to digest for him. Now I know better.

*ceramic pot is the best, and I happened to find one in my basement left there by previous owners, but any big container will do. If it is a glass jar try to put it in the dark since bacteria does not like light too much

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