One of the easiest things to make is sauerkraut. I always liked sauerkraut on bratwursts, but I can honestly say, in the past I would never have choosen it as a side dish.
When I started lacto-fermenting foods, this is where I started. I needed a use for the whey leftover from yogurt making. At the time I didn’t have chickens, and I couldn’t stand the wastefulness of pouring it down the drain. I quickly got hooked on lacto-fermenting, and got pretty good at it. We now have lacto-fermented foods that vary from pickles (see earlier post) to kim-chee (coming soon). As we get vegetables from our CSA at Fernbrook Farm, I use what is left from the week before and come up with new lacto-fermented salads and combinations.
I started teaching classes on lacto-fermentation in 2010. One day, while speaking to my sister about what I was doing, she commented that lacto-fermentation sounded “clunky and unappealing.” That was when I started to refer to it as Probiotic Preservation. The alliteration appeals to my English Major. The use of the term probiotic makes the preservation technique more accessible, as many people are now familiar with it because it is used so frequently as a marketing tool.
- One medium head of cabbage, shredded
- One medium carrot, shredded
- One small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 t caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 T salt
- 1/4 C Whey (if it is not available increase salt to 2 T)
- Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. I use a 4-quart, stainless steel pot. With a pounder (a plunger from your grinder, a meat pounder, or the end of a boiled brick), pound the mixture for about 8 – 10 minutes, until juices are formed.
- Pack the cabbage into clean glass jars or a crock. Be sure that the vegetables are below the surface of the juices!
- If you are using jars: Put the lids on the jars and place in a warm spot for 2-3days. When bubbles form, move to cold storage.
- If you are using a crock: Weight the top of the cabbage with a plate that fits inside the crock and a boiled brick. Cover the top with cheesecloth to keep out dust and dirt. Place the crock in a warm spot for 2-3 days. Check the top of the brine for scum. If scum has formed, scrape it off of the top of the brine before moving the kraut to cold storage.
We are just finishing our last jar of kraut from last fall. It kept beautifully for 5 months. Keep in mind that this is not heat processed and cannot be stored in a pantry with canned foods. It must be cold-stored at a temperature below 50 degrees.
We keep our l-f vegetables in an old refrigerator we have in our mudroom that is set on the “vacation” setting.
- Sauerkraut (traditionalnourishment.wordpress.com)