how to make sauerkraut

sauerkrautcityhippyfarmgirl

I felt pretty satisfied looking down at my kitchen bench. Sure it looked ridiculously crowded, and if someone had asked for a sandwich at that particular moment, I would have had to point them in the opposite direction…but. There was still that sense of satisfaction.

Satisfaction in the form of my bench tops being full of bacteria, and lots of it. There was the ever-present sourdough starter bulking up and bubbling away, there was the slowly sprouting buckwheat, gaining little green tails. There were kefir grains in the wings waiting, and the new guy who only speaks a little English… Herr Sauerkraut.

I’d finally taken the plunge, and had jumped in. I had been put off by pictures, wafty smells and stories of mouldy cabbages. Also the length of time to do it and having no bench space or proper pot to make it in. Saskia and I had talked of it awhile ago and then there it sat. A suggestion, a hint, sauerkraut were you going to happen?

sauerkraut

first day

I looked up lots of recipes and decided that a quick and easy version using sugar, and vinegar seemed like a good option. Twenty minutes cooking no problem!

But I held back. I make sourdough, I make yogurt, I sprout things, I wanted to try kefir, was I really going to be content with a twenty minute version or should I try and do it properly?

Well, put it like that and there sat my answer…get going girl.

Half a cabbage cut as finely as possible. In a bowl with two teaspoons of salt and crunch it all up in your hands. Breaking it down, releasing the juices. (Unless you have arms of steel, I crunched it a bit and then left it, going back and forth over the next half an hour or so.) Then in a clean glass jar, squash it all in with the juices sitting at the top, (it breaks down a lot.) My half cabbage was quickly nothing in size and I wished I had more to put in there. Lesson learnt for next time. I’d kept one outer leaf to put over the top of the cabbage mixture and then some muslin and a rubber band over top.

cityhippyfarmgirl

a few days in, and the colour has changed

Now the waiting. One week to 6 months is how long you can leave it. Due to teeny tiny kitchen bench spaces, I was not going to be waiting 6 months. Projects were lining up on the bench tops and a week was all I was giving it.

Taking the muslin off, the outer cabbage leaf out and sticking my nose in, what do we have? Bless my birkinstocks if we don’t have sauerkraut.

That was ridiculously easy, and now I’ve got a lovely batch of sauerkraut sitting in my fridge ready to be teamed up with…well pretty much everything, (including the reuben sandwich.)

sauerkraut

 How about you, have you made sauerkraut? Does the fermenting world entice you or scare the pants off you?

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seasonal cooking July/August

Not particularly pretty cooking, but tasty none the less this month. I’ve been playing with a few new ingredients lately which is always good. Also trying to jazz up a few of the regulars as well.

The ever reliable apple crumble with a pastry base to give it a bit of a twinkle. Lemon zest in the pastry, raw sugar and a pinch of coriander cooked in with the apple and a dash of vanilla in with the crumble topping.

Chinese Cabbage is getting a look in. This is a variation of my standard winter salad. Chinese cabbage, pecans or walnuts, apple and what ever else is looking good at the time.

Lemons are plentiful at the moment. Whispering words such as pie…pie…pie to me. It doesn’t matter what kind of pie. As long as it involves lemons and pastry somewhere within. This particular pie had potato flour in it as a thickening agent. Different for me, and I have to say… I quite liked it.

Swiss brown mushrooms, on swiss cheese, on sourdough. My favourite lunch at the moment. Not Mr Chocolate’s favourite lunch, although he does assure me he loves mushrooms. Loves them so much he only wants one or two a month.

I’m not sure it’s quite the same love we have for them.

And my little truffle…

High hopes and grand plans little fella. You live and you learn and all that. Next time, I’ll either buy a bigger one, or use it a lot quicker than which I did. Delicious yes, but I think some of its oomph was lost in between the buying and eating time.

Still tasty though, eaten with some wilted greens, scrambled eggs, sourdough, and a side of Mr Chocolate’s favourite mushrooms. Then again with a little softly cooked egg and shallots. The third egg I cooked was the best, (unfortunately not the one pictured.) The subtlety of the softly cooked egg with the generously grated truffle was quite delicious.

 

So what else is in season round these parts in the winter months?

blood oranges– the very small window of opportunity is now open. I’m thinking a blood orange cake

rhubarb– I’m just waiting for the right bunch to come along and a rhubarb extravaganza is planned….but it has to be the right bunch.

potatoes– leek and potato soup for cool nights

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What seasonal cooking are you doing at the moment?