(Cue the Pixies) For some reason I have been hit by a wave of fermentation lately. It all started when I figured out why my kombucha was suffering so: (too small a surface area compared to the volume! D’uh! I was so glad to figure this out, and now my baby is getting healthier with each batch. I also bought a new glass juice jug for it, which makes it a wee bit more styley and less back-alley than a mason jar.)
Now I never go long without refreshing my sourdough starter as you know, but we have added another ferment to the family lately: sauerkraut! I made one delicious batch of kimchi-style sauerkraut last summer, but never repeated the experiment. I kept bringing cabbages home from the grocery store, but never managed to get them soaking in brine.
All that changed last week when I brought a lovely organic cabbage from the Herb & Spice, and had the brain wave of using my beautiful le creuset baking dish as a crock. I sliced up cabbage, onion, and garlic, and added salt, whey and hot pepper flakes, and set it to brine away for a few days.
Now, it did stink up the house something awful, but at the end of three days, I ended up with a nice full mason jar worth of very spicy sauerkraut. Too spicy for my partner unfortunately, so . . .
Today I brought home two more lovely cabbages from the Herb and Spice. I chopped those up, added some carrot, onion, garlic and ginger (skipped the hot peppers), pounded it with salt, and now have it happily burbling away beside my kombucha. I am so excited.
For this batch I used the directions on Sandor Katz’s website: http://wildfermentation.com/resources.php?page=sauerkraut. I like his explanation of how to layer the salt and cut up cabbage, letting the salt do the work of attracting the juice out of the cabbage leaves instead of pounding it all to heck.
However, I did happen upon an interesting find that has made that very pounding a whole lot easier. I was in the flower shop around the corner, and spotted among their small collection of antiques a wooden object I believe to be a sauerkraut pounder! The woman in the shop said she thought it was for grinding, but I used it to pound the kraut into the bucket, and it completely did the trick.
Ever made sauerkraut? What do you like to ferment?