I grew up disliking the sharp flavor of vinegar and all things I associated with it, including pickles and sauerkraut. It is only recently that I have discovered the joy of fermented versions of these foods and realized that they are an entirely different experience!
The last two years, we’ve made sauerkraut in the fall with friends (twice in a row makes an occasion a tradition, right?), and we enjoy eating the results with many different dishes. We eat it on the side of meat, on top of other veggie dishes, on our hamburgers, and so on.
Making your own fermented sauerkraut is simple. Finely chop a smooth-leaf cabbage (such as in this week’s share). In a bowl, mix it with a liberal amount of sea salt, making sure you coat it well.
Then transfer to a non-reactive container, such as a crock or large mason jar, and ‘pound’ it down with a spoon or other implement so that the cabbage starts to release juice. While the sauerkraut is fermenting, you’ll need to keep the cabbage down in the liquid, so cover your crock or jar with a plate or a bag of water (well sealed). Put in a cool but not cold location (a garage works well), and let ferment. In a few days, you should notice a smell and see bubbles at the top of the kraut. Sometimes some scum will form, which you can skim off.
After two or three weeks, you can transfer the ‘finished’ kraut to your fridge for storage until eating. Avoid canning or cooking it if you want to retain the ‘pro-biotic’ properties of the fermented kraut. Yummy and healthy!