Creating a Life of Plenty

Fermentation Experimentation!

Fermentation Experimentation

Say that to the tune of conjunction junction 😉

I am always looking for ways to preserve our harvests and ways to make more things at home…fermenting vegetables is a win win in this area.

Fermentation is one of the oldest methods of food transformation and preservation in the world.  It is the process of converting or cooking food through the process of bacteria converting acids and other compounds to sugars.  One of the most recognized product of fermentation is sauerkraut.  This cabbage product is tangy, sour and delicious!  It also can help aid your digestive tract and gut by introducing beneficially bacteria and flora to your system.

Homemade sauerkraut is absolutely nothing like its store bought counterpart, which is usually made and preserved with vinegar and is relatively void of complex flavor and certainly void of crunchy texture.

My partner and I decided to experiment with what is known as the fermentation gateway drug (sauerkraut) as there are a myriad of vegetables and other items that can be transformed and enhanced by fermentation.

The recipe we tried was adapted from farmhouseculture.com

1 head green cabbage (3 pounds), shredded (14 cups), 3 whole small leaves reserved

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS

 

Combine cabbage, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes. Massage to release liquid from cabbage (forming a brine), about 5 minutes; you can also use the end of a French rolling pin to macerate the mixture .

Pack cabbage mixture into 3 pint-size canning jars, making sure brine covers cabbage by at least 1 inch and leaving 1 to 2 inches of space at the top. Fold and push 1 reserved leaf into each, filling the top space (leaves do not need to be fully submerged). We also added a smaller jelly jar filled with pie weights to keep the cabbage as submerged as possible.

Close jars tightly, and transfer to a glass baking dish or a nonreactive container with 2-inch-high sides. Let stand in a cool, dark place (64 degrees to 70 degrees) for 5 days.

Slowly open and quickly close jars to gently release built-up pressure, being careful not to let the liquid bubble out. Let stand for 5 more days. Reopen jars to release pressure.

Let stand for 5 more days. Taste to determine if kraut is sour enough. Let stand until kraut is to your liking (we like a 21-day ferment), continuing to open jars every few days to release pressure.

We also tried a standard kraut without the seasonings that worked better for Will’s taste, but it didn’t quite work out and molded…we think the jar might have been faulty…you win some you lose some.  However, the German style with the caraway and mustard seed is absolutely delicious…I think as the summer harvest comes in, we are going to try some other fermentation experimentations on other vegetables!

Happy Gardening!

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