So do y’all remember the BMG’s cabbage patch?
Oh, come on, sure you do!
Anyway, well, most of those got harvested, and while a few made their way into dinner, the vast majority were turned into homemade, naturally vegan, lacto-fermented kraut.
<Homer Simpson drooling sound>
Yes, that’s right–we’re up to no good with live cultures yet again in a new series I’m calling “FERMENTING IS FUN!”
Not really. That makes it sound like one of those puberty videos you have to watch in your fifth grade science classes.
“Getting Down with Gonads!”
“Engorgin’ Sex Organs!”
“Chillaxin’ With Childbirth!”
“Are You There, God? It’s Me, Menses.”
“A Peculiar Thunder Down Under.”
“Congratulations! As if Your Status as a Female Didn’t Already Disadvantage You Enough, You’re Now Both Fertile and Alluring and That Is About As Good for Your Future as Mixing Valium With Everclear Okay Have Fun Bye Bye!”
Right. Back to fermentation.
This requires no vinegar, injects you with sexy, sexy probiotics, and tastes phenomenal. The Boy and I like it as an appetizer with a little sharp cheddar, homemade sourdough, and homebrew. But really, now, you misfits are creative. You could do a whole host of things with it!
Said Whole Host of Things, if A Metric Whole Host Equals Ten
1. Grilled Cheese and Kraut
2. Pork Chops, Kraut, and Pink Applesauce
3. Hot Dogs and Kraut
5. Make sauerkraut pierogi!
6. Best. Corned Beef Sandwich. Ever.
7. Put it on your mom.
7. Serve an unconventional pickle plate: pumpernickel, fermented kraut, smoked salmon, yogurt cheese, briny olives, pickled mushrooms…
8. Bring a jar of it to a high school reunion. Insist on introducing it to people and following up with vaguely German slurs and raucous laughter. Bonus points if you never even went to that high school.
9. Kraut plus Shredded Swiss Cheese plus Potato Chips = Nommiful Nachos
10. Put it on your archenemy.
So really, you get the idea–eat it, enjoy it, or just put it on the stuff and/or people in your life. Mmm…tangy!
Makes 1 half-gallon crock/jar of tightly-packed kraut
2 small to medium cabbages
1 large white onion (optional: carrots and beets are fun additions, too)
1/4 cup whole Dutch caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 cup whey extracted from yogurt (instructions here) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way? See this post.)
2 Tablespoons sea salt
Shred the cabbage, either with a food processor or a sharp knife and cutting board. Put it into a large bowl, then finely chop the onion and add it to the bowl. Add in the caraway seeds, salt, and whey, and toss everything to combine.
Let mixture sit for 20 minutes, then start pounding it with a potato masher. Pound until you get tired, then set it aside to rest for a few minutes. Alternately pound and rest until the mixture is much reduced in volume and is yielding a lot of water.
It’s ready when you can pack the kraut down with the masher or a wooden spoon and liquid comes up to cover it, usually an hour. When it’s ready, pile it into a half-gallon crock or jar, packing tightly as you go.
Press the top down. If there’s enough liquid to submerge the vegetables, you’re golden. If not, add some filtered water until they’re covered. Now place an open Ziploc bag over the jar (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the kraut down and keep it submerged. When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location. Check the kraut for sourness each day. Mine is usually at optimal sourness in 1-2 weeks, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment. Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation. It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.
Note: If a little mold develops on top, you misfits shouldn’t worry about it–this is normal. Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.