Recipes at Sound Food

The Simplicity of Sauerkraut

I'd never thought about making sauerkraut until my garden produced a bumper crop of cabbages this year. It turns out that making sauerkraut is simplicity itself!  All you need is some cabbage, salt and a container.   Here's how.

First, harvest some cabbage from your garden or your local farmer (Laughing Crow Farm grows wonderful cabbages).   Next, shred the cabbage and begin to layer it in a container. Three heads (remember that garden bounty!) filled my grandmother's pickling crock (any ceramic, glass, or other non-metallic container will do).

As you layer the shredded cabbage, sprinkle it with some sea salt and tamp it down to release the juices.  My potato masher was a perfect utensil for this step.  When it's all layered and salted, you need to weigh it down.  I put a plate and a water-filled jar on top of the cabbage and put the crock in the pantry to ferment.  Any warm and undisturbed place will suit your sauerkraut operation.  Within a day or so, the mixture was covered with brine and fermenting along happily. 

While many recipes allow for long weeks of fermentation, your sauerkraut is ready whenever you are.  I peeked at it each day and by the end of the second week my curiosity and taste buds were eager to give it a try.  What a treat to find that it actually tasted like sauerkraut-- mild, tangy and crunchy!  After a full-scale nibble, I put it in a covered container in the refrigerator.  So simple and so good.

Though I haven't strayed far from the sausage and sauerkraut combination, there are an amazing number of recipes for this fermented food.  On it's first trip to our dinner table, I served it with a pot roast made from Thundering Hooves grass-fed beef from Walla Walla.  It was a savory feast that tasted and felt like autumn weather and cozy family dinners.

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