Renaissance Man and I stopped by the local fruit/veggie stand yesterday and I couldn’t resist this beautiful cabbage. I had to have it.
It’s kind of funny to me that I see veggies as works-of-art these days. I never have before. There’s something about seeing a bundle of fresh carrots with their tops still on. They’re magnificent. I know the gal at the fruit stand probably laughs at me because I often find myself commenting out loud about the beauty of her goods. I can’t help myself. They’re just so dang purty.
Anyway, back to the story.
I saw this cabbage and I decide this darling vegetable needed to become sauerkraut. And not just any old mushy sauerkraut, but lacto-fermented.
In on other words, crunchy.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to have a lacto-fermented veggie, this is something worth trying. And so easy. No really. I’m not pushing sunshine up your skirt. This is stinkin’ easy.
First, using a food processor (or cheese grater), grate your cabbage, and place in a quart size jar.
I used some purple cabbage and some carrot as well. (I love the layered look.)
Then take a spoon and smoosh down all the goodies.
You can’t tell…but here I am smooshing. (pressing down)
Pretty easy stuff, huh?
Keep filling and smooshing until you get to about 1 1/2 inches from the top of your jar.
Now, add 1 Tablespoon of salt. It doesn’t have to be Kosher Salt. My grocery store was out of my regular salt. Any sea salt will do.
By the way, I forgot to take a picture when I put in the water, so this is not accurate as far as how far up the jar to fill your veggies. You want them to be a bit lower than this picture shows. There needs to be room for expansion.
Next, fill your quart jar of extreme beauty with filtered water. You really want water that doesn’t have chlorine in it.
If you don’t have a filter on your tap water, you can always boil your water for 10 minutes. That’s suppose to get rid of most of the chlorine. Wait until your water cools and then add it to the veggies.
You want all the veggies to be covered in water. Drown ’em. So, take heed, as your jar sits for a little bit, the water line will sink. See in this picture the carrots are not completely covered? You don’t want that.
Everybody (okay, every veggie) needs to be fully submersed in your brine (fancy word for salted water), otherwise you may be looking at some mold later. Mold. Yuck. Translation: Not Good.
When you’re satisfied you’ve completely dunked your kraut, give it a little cover. It needs a bit of privacy.
It’s gonna be busy for awhile, people. Have some decency to leave it alone, so it can do its thing.
And truly this is when the magic begins. Leave your jar on the counter…(this is going to be difficult to take in, friends…take a deep breath)… for 3 days.
Now, come on back here! It’s going to be okay. I know you’ve always heard that things left out of the refrigerator will go bad and you shouldn’t eat it. But just for a second, let’s consider what our ancestors did before the miracle of refrigeration and canning jars. This is one way they preserved their food.
And the truly amazing part, God made it so that it actually helped their immune systems. You want a healthy gut? Lacto-fermented veggies (or fruit) promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines.
“These beneficial organisms (found in lacto-fermented foods*) produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances.” Nourishing Traditions, page 89
After 3 days, you should be able to eat your kraut. I’m told the taste just gets better with time. Once the 3 days is up, cover the jar with a real lid and refrigerate it. Your kraut will keep for months in your refrigerator. Just think about the jar of pickles you have in there now.
This summer I made lacto-fermented green beans and cucumbers and they were so delicious. Crunchy and tasty. I added garlic and dill to the brine.
I’ve never made sauerkraut this way. So, come on back on Thursday when I taste my new experiment. (Cabbage Check Up)
Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In Summary
1 head of cabbage
1 Tbsp sea salt
Shred cabbage in food processor or with cheese grater. Fill quart size jar with shredded cabbage. Press down and fill with more cabbage until 1 1/2 inches from the top of the jar. Pour in salt. Fill jar with filtered water (no chlorine) until all cabbage is fully submerged under water. Cover with a dish towel and set on counter for 3 days. Make sure to check back occasionally to see if all cabbage is still under water. If not, add some more water.
After 3 days, place a lid on your jar and refrigerate. It’s ready to eat when you are. Just remember, the longer it ferments, the tastier it gets. Enjoy!
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