Saurerkraut

6

May 31, 2013 by currbell

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I started to write this post and tell you why you want to eat sauerkraut (I can NEVER spell that without looking it up!). But the fact is, I would have to get out too many books  and news clippings and type up too many quotes, and I am currently all snuggled up on the couch with the sweetest snuggliest sleeping baby on my chest. I’ve been saving quotes  to share with you about probiotics for almost a year now, and it’s just NOT going to happen today. So can you trust me when I say this stuff is seriously good for you, waaay cheaper and better quality than any of the probiotics you can get at the store? It may be an acquired taste for your family, but I feel compelled to mention that it tastes far better than any manufactured brand you may have tried before. We were given this head of purple cabbage, and because we were getting ready for a very large cookout and had no room in the fridge I decided to make it into kraut- which is btw the exact reason people started making fermented foods. One of my goals for last year was to learn how to culture vegtables (btw- I never call them that to my kids, I just say, “These are carrot pickles” or what ever the veggie is. Names make a difference. Moma used to call prunes in our oatmeal Giant Raisins, and we always felt special to find one in our bowl) last year, and I must say I was unnesecarily intimidated by learning how to do this. It’s pretty easy.DSC_0062

I chop it all up as you can see, either by hand or in the food processor. You can see I added some grated carrot to this batch too. Then I put it all in a gallon jar or a bowl and salt it to taste. You want it on the almost too salty side. Let in sit for a while to get some juices flowing. Then you either squeeze it in your hands and find something to pound the mess out of it with. I asked my talented father-in-law to make me a custom pound-the-mess-out-of-it-stick and that’s what I use. This is a great job to have kids help with, and I find my kids always eat better if they have a hand in the preparations, though despite that they are still learning to like this. The pretty color is helping with that some. Then I stuff it into wide mouth quart canning jars (half gallon ones would work great too, which is about how much one head of cabbage will make), filling to an inch from the top. I use my pound-the-mess-out-of-it-stick to push it down tight, and before I had one I just used my hand. There needs to be enough liquid in it to cover the top, but mine never has this on it’s own. I assume that’s because I am a Lazy Pounder. DSC_0063

So I pour some water on top. You need to be careful with the step. If you have city water filled with chlorine and floride you’ll need to buy some filtered water for this step, cause that stuff will kill all the good bacteria, the probiotics, you are trying to grow in here, and then your cabbage will just rot. (Stop and think about that for a minute, the stuff in the water kills living organisms…and…YOU are a living organism, right? Ya might want to think about getting some way to filtering your water for you, like a Berky). Then I take a small mouth half pint canning jar, fill it with water and set it down inside your jar of pounded cabbage. I wish I had a picture of this to show, but alas, I have a newborn in the house and I am BUSY. You have to keep the air from touching the cabbage, and the water does this, but you have to keep the cabbage below the level of the water, or it won’t work, and that’s what the little canning jar on top is for. The bacteria predigest the cabbage, making some of the nutrients more readily available for your body to use, much in the same way as cooking foods. As this process happens bubbles are created. So you need a system that lets air out, but not air in. You can buy different things to achieve this, some of which are terribly expensive. But I’m too stubborn to buy new things and kept trying things in the kitchen till I hit on this method and it works great. The bacteria grow at room temperature, so just leave it on the counter for at least three days. Taste it and see if you like it. If you want it more sour then leave it on the counter longer. Since we are still developing a taste for this, I put it in the fridge after three days.DSC_0066

Most cultured foods are traditionally served like condiments (examples would be traditional pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, salad dressing, sour cream etc.). This makes sense because they often pack too much flavor to be a main dish, and they help you digest food. So I try to use it this way too. I’ve put it on hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, beans and rice, soft tacos and as a topping for some soups. I’ve stirred in some cumin toasted in olive oil, mayo, and a little chili powder to make a really tasty side salad for Mexican food, and you could use sesame oil and anise seed to make an Asian style salad. I try to serve it unheated, because heat will kill the probiotics, and those Good Guys are what I am after.

So, that’s what we do. Hope the info blesses you. And I’ll do the best I can to get back to this topic and share all the many many reasons you want to make and eat foods like this. Blessings!c

“Fermented cabbage is extremely nutrient rich…Additional lactic acid, enzymes, and probiotics make this food the perfect digestive aid. Sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice are remarkable at stimulating adequate stomach acidity, which makes them protective against food allergies.” Super Nutrition for Babies

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6 thoughts on “Saurerkraut

  1. Lisa says:

    Ewwwwww … I’m so afraid of even trying sauerkraut! I’m so convinced I’ll hate it like all those veggies I was forced to eat growing up! Yes I’m a big baby about this. But, because of “Super Nutrition for Babies” I bought a jar of the Bubbies brand to give Solomon some of the juice of. Tabby found out she LOVES sauerkraut and can’t get enough of it. Yay for my kids! And you know, the kraut on the hot dog picture you have actually makes it look sort of appealing. I just may summon up the courage to try it after all! 🙂

    • currbell says:

      I know what you mean. I’ve found if I want to like new foods I have to get my thoughts out of the way. Liver was/is a huge hurdle for me. If I think about it too much, I can’t eat it. But if I don’t think about it, it was better, and now I LOVE chicken livers, enough to hid them from the kids and saute them up on nap time so I don’t have to share. Isn’t that horrible! Lol. I just apply the same thing to myself that I do to my kids: It may take as many as 15 tries for your pallet to adjust to something new. So if I know something is good for me I push through and WORK to like it if I have to. I don’t really taste it much on a hamburger and made into a slaw with the mayo and toasted cummin (drained well first) and on top of Mexican food- THAT is SO good. I’m starting to crave it now. At the very last you can save money and make it for your kids and instead of buying it *smile*

  2. It’s the smell I can’t get past. Thankfully (???) the cabbageworms haven’t let me grow a single head of cabbage for over 3 years so to sauerkraut or not to sauerkraut really isn’t an issue 🙂 BIll always says how much he loves it- wishes I would make it, but my grandma made like 10 quarts for him last fall and he hasn’t touched it yet. (just saying … for next time he harasses me 😉 ) I will say this: yours looks beautiful!!

    • currbell says:

      Yep, it was the smell for me too. Cutting the culture time a little short really helps with the smell. I must say that we like carrot “pickles” much better. I grate them and add grated fresh ginger and then process them the same way. This was a much better way for us to start. It makes a great last minute topping for soup or stirred into tuna salad, and any place you like pickle relish. I’m actually hoping to try my hand at a batch of these dilly carrot sticks today. I think they would make a good snack to go with quick lunches for the girls and I. It’s my goal to have some cultured food with every meal. Haven’t made it there yet, but I’m trying! We had the worst time with cabbage worms last year too. My cabbages were a complete failure. I can’t understand how cabbages are on the Clean 15 list!

  3. Jess in AK says:

    I haven’t tried to make sauerkraut yet. I love coleslaw too much, but did make fermented sweet potatoes a while back. The salt necessary made it inedible to me. Next time I let something culture I will use whey because then you get to cut down on salt. Have you used whey in any of your “pickling” recipes?

    • currbell says:

      I have used whey. From what I can read I don’t think that’s really a traditional way of culturing veggies. Also I figure I am getting plenty of the bacteria that is in the whey already, because I am eating the yogurt that it came from. So if I just culture it from the air then I have the chance of getting a larger variety of probiotic strains in my diet. That’s actually why I salt it too taste, because all the recipies I have tried came out WAY too salty. I gave my parents some, and Moma told me how nice it was and it was the first batch I made that wasn’t too salty for her. I’ve found with traditional cooking and baking it works much better to use your common sense than to strictly follow someone’s written recipe. You should try the sweet potatoes again some time and just salt it to taste…just make sure it tastes very salty but not inedible. That’s one I haven’t tried but may this year for baby food.

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