I decided to try something new this week – as I always do (my husband gets so mad at me – why can’t I stick with the old standbys??). I had three cabbages saved up from the past two weeks of CSA boxes and I had a lot of carrots and kohlrabi and green onions…I needed a new kraut recipe.
Why do I make sauerkraut every week you ask? Well – the CSA box dictates what I make and cabbage is in season. The other reason is because it is fermented and fermentation increases the shelf life (so I don’t have to cook cabbage every week – yuck!) and increases the vitamin content in the veggies. How? Through the process of building up lactic acid – this creates probiotics. Yes–the same kind of very good for you bacteria found in yogurt. Turns out these are very good for your tummy and gut lining and help you digest whatever else you happen to be eating. I basically eat fermented anything (kraut or other ‘pickled’ veggies, ketchup, mayo…etc.) with everything! Please note that pickles are not the same anymore…these are truly fermented – you leave them out on the counter for a few days to let that bacteria grow and then put in the fridge and they do not contain a lot of vinegar or sugar which would kill the beneficial bacteria before it had a chance to grow. Some raw vinegar is ok – but it is a balancing act. The first time I made truly fermented pickles I couldn’t believe my taste buds – they tasted like real Jewish deli pickles – amazing. If you think about it – every society has some form of fermented veggie (kimchi, German sauerkraut, Russian beet kvass, cortido, Chinese cabbage, Jewish kosher deli pickles, etc., etc.) so it must be good!
So here is the recipe I came up with today based on one from Nourishing Traditions and various online resources:
Makes 1/2 gallon (you can half this if you want – I just happened to have a lot of veggies today)
2-3 small to medium cabbage, cored and shredded
2 cups carrots, grated
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
2 small kohlrabi, peeled and grated
green leaves from the kohlrabi, stems removed, finely chopped
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes (or to your taste – I amped this up considerably because I like things spicy)
2 Tbsp sea salt
1/4 cup whey (liquid kind – you can drain this off of yogurt)
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Pound with a hammer for 10 min. (great way to get a workout!) to release the juices. Place in quart of 1/2 gallon sized wide mouth mason jars and press down firmly until juices come to the top of the sauerkraut. The top of the veggie mixture should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jars. I place a zip loc bag inside the jar and fill it with water and seal it to weigh down the cabbage mixture. Cover the jar tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. It should have a nice sour taste when done fermenting.