Alex and Juniper of Juniper Farm have been supplying us with their own Sauerkraut for sale in our retail store for some time. This summer we decided to give it a try a batch ourselves for an upcoming meal we have planned for Tuesday July 17.
I was very inspired last year when I read a book called Wild Fermentation, written by Sandor Katz. In his entertaining book Sandor explains the history of fermented foods and does an excellent job convincing the reader that fermentation is something we can all tackle without fear. So, armed with Sandor’s soothing words and safe in the knowledge that we could call Alex with any questions we had, we embarked on our first fermentation adventure.
Today we tasted it and it’s perfect!
Right from Sandor’s website, here is the recipe we used:
Timeframe: 1-4 weeks (or more)
Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greaterPlate that fits inside crock or bucket
One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel
Ingredients (for 1 gallon):
2. Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
3. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and bugs out. The key here is to weight down the cabbage so it stays submersed in the water, while covering it with a breathable cloth so that air can get in and out.
4. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
5. Leave the crock to ferment in a place where it’s not in your way, or in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.
6. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes blook appears on the surface. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine.
At this point there is some debate over how to proceed. Sandor recommends skimming off the ‘bloom’ but Alex suggested leaving it untouched until the fermentation process is complete. We went with Alex on this one. After two weeks we carefully removed the ‘bloom’ and drained the sauerkraut. We mixed in some Caraway seeds for flavour, and transfered to a clean container with a loose top. Do not put the kraut in an airtight container as it will continue to ferment and could possibly explode. However refrigeration significantly reduces the fermentation process.
5 pounds cabbage
3 tablespoons sea salt
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