Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Easy Peasy Sauerkraut

I had all these grand plans to tell you exciting, interesting facts about sauerkraut ... things that might surprise you. Like that sauerkraut originated in China, among the guys working on the Great Wall. (Though I'd imagine it had a different, more Chinese-sounding name ... ). Or that it's fermented with friendly bacteria, like yogurt or sourdough. Really cool stuff, right?

Well, here I sit and I have zero motivation to look for facts about sauerkraut. Truth is, I've just come home from spin class, I've got my pyjamas on, and I'm eating Greek yogurt out of the tub using lemon biscotti as a spoon.

So, you're just going to get a plain old recipe, no facts attached. Sorry ...

Easy Peasy Sauerkraut

makes 1L
10 min prep + 5-10 min pounding + being patient for awhile

1 L glass jar, sterilised via 10-20 min in a warm oven or boiling water - then set aside to cool
1 kg cabbage, cut into very fine strips
2 Tbs sea salt
1 Tbs dill or caraway seeds (optional)

1. Mix the cabbage and the salt in a large bowl. Add the dill or caraway if you like. Use a mallet (or some sort of pounding implement) to crush the cabbage mixture until it starts becoming juicy. Really abuse it - you want lots of juices.

2. When the mix is all juicy, transfer it from the bowl to the jar. Then find something that you can use to press down on the cabbage in the jar. By adding a weight to the top of the cabbage, you're making sure it's all covered by those juices you pounded out *. I used a wide-mouth glass jar + a full water bottle when I made mine. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a cool-ish, dark cupboard for 3 - 5 days. (This is when those nice bacteria start doing their work.)

3. Then, take out whatever weight you've used, put a lid on the jar, and put your sauerkraut in the fridge for another month.

4. When it's ready, be sure to rinse it before you eat it - otherwise you'll end up feeling like you drank salt water. (I know this for a fact. Oops.)

* If you can't get enough juices via pounding and weighting, you can make up a brine solution of 1 Tbs salt per 1/3 c water and top up the jar with it.

This should keep well in your fridge, so don't think you have to eat it all at once.

Sauerkraut loves:
apples, cheese, rye bread, hot dogs, pierogies, sugar + vinegar, and also just to be on its own. I'm sure there are other things, but ... well ... my biscotti is gone, and my yogurt is finished and I really want to go downstairs and make a cup of tea. So, you understand, right?

How much did this cost me?

Well, I bought a monster of a cabbage at the organic shop - for $7. It actually weighed 4 kgs. So my organic sauerkraut cost me less than $2 per litre. Bargain! The only down side is that you have to wait on it. But it's actually a really great feeling when you remember a month later that it's ready to eat!

Try it, seriously. This is a great one for the kids to do, too.

Amanda xx

PS. Try sauerkraut with a dash of rice wine vinegar + a sprinkle of fennel seeds. Yum!


Brianna! said... [Reply to comment]

my love for sauerkraut is beyond imaginable.
Its one of my favorite things to eat....just by itself.
MMMMM I know thats slightly odd. but you must admit, it is SO good.


Erika said... [Reply to comment]

I didn't realize it was so easy to make yourself! I know you don't eat meat, but I love kraut with pork.
Thanks for your honesty today! Enjoy your morning!

Melanie Gray Augustin said... [Reply to comment]

I'm going to have to pass this one onto hubby, he's a big sauerkraut fan!

radish said... [Reply to comment]

I have tried this once and it was likely fine, but I was afraid to eat it, but I am going to try again.

Byw student. Nice Post.

Amanda @ EasyPeasyOrganic said... [Reply to comment]

Brianna- not odd at all ... unless you choose it over chocolate. And then definitely odd.

Erika - my husband LOVES meat, and keeps telling me I've got to post ideas for how these recipes could go with meat, too! So thanks for doing that for me!

Melanie - I bet you could make Japanese inspired sauerkraut ... hmm, I wonder what you'd use?

Radish - I know, I was skeptical the 1st time I made jam or pickles ... but now my confidence is up and I'll eat it as long as it doesn't crawl out of the jar. :)

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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