Making your own sauerkraut
Save your pennies and make your own fermented foods. It's easy and they are a great backup when there are no fresh veggies in the fridge or you don’t have much time to cook. Choose vegetables that are fresh, local and organic, as your ferment will be only as good as the ingredients you use. You can ferment any vegetable but some work better than others. Cabbage is easy, as are radishes, carrots, turnips, apples and beetroot. The fermentation process creates a distinctive sour flavour but experiment to discover what you like.
Include prebiotic-rich foods too such as onions, asparagus, leeks and artichokes. These fibre-rich foods feed the good bacteria in the gut.
Sauerkraut - Easy to make at home, this fermented cabbage dish has been around for centuries. It's high in fibre, as well as vitamins A, C, K and various B vitamins. It's also a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium and calcium.
TIPS FOR MAKING GOOD SAUERKRAUT
1. Use fresh cabbage. The better your ingredients, the better the finished product will be.
2. Use at least some salt. Salt is a traditional ingredient in sauerkraut because it increases shelf life, texture, and flavour. The amount of salt used can vary according to personal taste preference.
3. Create an anaerobic environment. This is an absolute essential in the sauerkraut-making process. The cabbage must be completely submerged underneath a brine in order for the lactic acid bacteria to proliferate. This is important for protecting your ferment from unwanted bacteria (or mould). Fermentation weights or a cabbage leaf can help keep your cabbage submerged.
4. Give it time. You can ferment sauerkraut for only a few days before moving to cold storage, but giving sauerkraut a lower temperature and longer fermentation time can develop the flavour and texture a little better. I suggest letting it ferment for 2 weeks, though experimenting with time and taste is the best way to determine what time frame works best for you.
• 1 Medium Head of Cabbage
• 1-3 Tbsp. sea salt
1. Chop or shred cabbage. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Knead the cabbage with clean hands, or pound with a potato masher or Cabbage Crusher about 10 minutes, until there is enough liquid to cover.
3. Stuff the cabbage into a quart jar, pressing the cabbage underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit of water to completely cover cabbage.
4. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
5. Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) for at least 2 weeks until desired flavour and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
6. Once the sauerkraut is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The sauerkraut's flavour will continue to develop as it ages.