Wednesday, October 6, 2010
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 ...
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.
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?
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.
PS. Try sauerkraut with a dash of rice wine vinegar + a sprinkle of fennel seeds. Yum!