Last month we enjoyed a great evening with our friends, and we had a a little domestic night. “S” and “J” taught Mr. Miller and I to make Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut. Being that I am married to a German he was all for this. It turned out amazing. So crisp and fresh, not to mention all the digestive benefits that fermented food has to offer. Are you ready for the long list of ingredients? Here is the cast of characters:
2 heads of cabbage and kosher salt
I love the fact that there is no vinegar. In minutes I can put together a healthy side dish that 3 of the 4 members in my family will eat. Cameron will succumb and join us at some point. Henry loves it!
Here is the skinny on making your own kraut.
First peel the outer leaves from your heads of cabbage. I just discard them. Next quarter your cabbage and remove the core. I use my mandolin because Mr. Miller likes the uniformity of the shreds, for me it was that it was the quickest and easiest method. I will let him think that I like the his reason best too, but really we all know it is my kitchen and my way. Tee Hee Hee. Notice my favorite big green Pyrex bowl. Isn’t she pretty. I like how she matched the cabbage.
Next put 2 heaping tablespoons of salt over the cabbage. Now “big greenie” could only hold one head at a time so I used 1 tbsp. per batch.
Let me jump back a step here. Picking your cabbage. Using organic cabbage is important as chemicals used on non-organic cabbage could inhibit the fermentation process. Red or Green cabbage is fine. Remember the fresher the better. We decided we are definitely going to start growing our own here at Green Acres.
Now for the fun part. Stress relief time! Its summer and our lovely children are home with me all day being perfect angels, right? Not ok well they are so bad but they can “grate” on each other and ultimately me by the end of each day. Take you stress out on this lovely cabbage. Go ahead show it who is boss. It’s not going to complain. Pound it, squeeze it or whatever it takes to get the job done. You want to do this until liquid starts to form on the shreds and in your bowl. Your amount of cabbage in the bowl will decrease. Don’t be alarmed.
Once this has happened after about 8-10 minutes you can fill your container. Our friends use a jar with a rubber gasket but I find canning jars do the trick just as well. Add the cabbage to the jars by layers and pressing down in between. We used the end of my bamboo spoon to do this. Mr. Miller has already figured out that he needs a 1 1/2 inch dowel rod cut for the next time. Who is this man I married? Just kidding I love the fact that he wants to participate in my homemade Caroline Ingalls meets Olivia Walton adventures. Never a dull moment around here. Ok where was I? Right the jars. You will see juice above each layer as you compact. Leave about 1-2 inches of space in the top of the jar. Make sure the cabbage is below the liquid line.
Top with the lid loosely. It’s important that the lid is not on too tightly as gas and bubbles will form during the fermentation process. Remember they must be able to escape the jar, otherwise you could end up with a mess on your hands. I also place ours on a towel incase we have any seepage from the top of the jar. I set ours on the counter for 10-12 days. You can cover them with a towels. Feel free to start tasting as soon as 5 days. Our perfect time was 11.
When it is right seal that puppy up and put in the fridge. You will thank me just as we thank “S” and “J” for sharing the world of homemade fermented sauerkraut with us. Now if I could just get my hands on a crock like my granny used to make hers in? Hmmmm…. maybe time for some Urban Treasure Hunting.