This is yet another fermentation recipe. In its defense, not only are these recipes tasty, they are great to keep the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Yep, you read that right, I just mentioned your gut.
Kraut can be bought or bottled, but the taste of these products are created by processing the cabbage with vinegar. The unique taste of this recipe is created by fermenting the vegetables.
Sauerkraut, of course, uses cabbage but you can add whatever vegetables you have available to the mixture. My grandchildren (bless ’em) picked all my green peppers from my garden for their picnic. They soon discovered, green pepper wasn’t quite the taste they were going for, so I ended up with the leftovers. It’s all good! It worked great to add them to this recipe.
First Step: Finely dice, shred or chop the vegetables. In this recipe, I used, red cabbage (Because it is so pretty!), but any cabbage will do. I added onions and those green peppers so lovingly picked by my grandchildren. You can use shredded carrots, turnips, beets , etc. Also add spices to your liking. The amount of vegetables you need depends on the size of your container. I use only a half a head of cabbage and then add the veggies need to fill my container. Remember during the process, the vegetables are broken down quite a bit, so start off with more than you think you will need.
Second Step: Add salt…about 5 to 7 tablespoons.
Third Step: Then using your hand, squish the vegetables between your fingers crushing out all the crispness vegetables. The veggies will let off a liquid. The one with the most liquid wins the game. Add any other spices you would like to use to flavor your mixture.
Fourth Step: Then place the mixture in a crock or jar. I use a jar made specifically for fermenting. I purchased it from culturesforhealth.com if your interested.
Fifth Step: If your vegetables didn’t create enough liquid to keep all of it fully immersed, then you will need to add water to top it off. Some people use distilled water, if you are worried about contaminants in your water.
The jar that I purchased also came with glass pebbles to weight the contents down and keep it submerged. You don’t need this. I have also used a dinner plate sized to fit nicely inside the container — so be creative.
Set it aside, away from other fermenting recipes. It should take a week to 10 days to process. The length of time you need to let it set depends on the temperature. The cooler temperatures, the longer it will take. I have had this recipe setting on my counter now for about a week and it isn’t ready. So, just keep checking back every few days. When it smells heavenly and a taste to match, the process is done. You can move the contents to the fridge. As long the mixture doesn’t have a repulsive smell you should be good to go. Yes, this is the criteria I judge whether food is edible or not — as long as it doesn’t have a repulsive smell — I’m good to go.
As with all fermenting, there is an art to it. It’s easy, but each environment adds so many variables; so be patient.
This is a great end of season recipe to use up all the straggler vegetables harvested out of your garden.
Any readers get their kraut on? I would love to hear about it.