May 31, 2013 by currbell
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.
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.
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.
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