I talked about getting probiotics into your diet with a variety of vegetables fermented into kraut, in my last post. And I told you that I use the Perfect Pickler Vegetable Fermenting Kit Master System to make mine. If you want to make your own combinations so you control the flavors you’re adding to your meals, it helps to have a good system. I’ve started with a basic recipe for regular sauerkraut. My grandmother used to use plain green cabbage when she made it, but you can use any cabbage you like.
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 head of cabbage
First, clean everything you’ll be using. You want those good bacteria to have the best chance to thrive and not give any bad one a helping hand.
Cut head of cabbage into quarters, cutting out the core and shred or cut into fine thin strips and place in large bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the top of the cabbage. Using your hands toss the shredded cabbage to get the salt evenly disbursed, squeezing to start getting the natural juices out of the cabbage.
At this point my grandmother would put the cabbage into a crock with a lid. I evenly divide it into wide mouth quart canning jars, pushing the cabbage down into the jars. I do my best to divide the cabbage and juices evenly between the jars. The last 1/2 tsp salt is sprinkled over the tops of each jar of cabbage, a pinch at a time. If the juices don’t cover the cabbage add some pure water to top them off. You’ll want the liquid no closer than an inch from the top. Cover and leave in a dark place to ferment for a week, minimum. Keep checking every few days to make sure the cabbage is staying below the liquid. If it isn’t you can push it back down or set something on top of it to keep it down. (You can get a mold growth on the top layer of cabbage if it stays exposed to the air. My grandmother didn’t worry about this, she just scooped it off and served up the kraut from below it. I don’t like to deal with it and keeping the cabbage below the liquid solves this.)
Using the Perfect Pickler Vegetable Fermenting Kit Master System I don’t have to worry about all that watching the airflow and keeping the cabbage below the fluid. It takes care of that for me. I pack it down to within 2 inches of th top. then add the rest of the fluid. I can set Perfect Pickler Vegetable Fermenting Kit Master System up on each jar, set them in the cupboard and wait a week. All that fussy work is done for me and I have my sauerkraut all done.
After 5 or 6 days of fermenting, check the taste to see if it’s to your liking. You can let it ferment as long as it takes, checking every day until you get the taste you like. Once it tastes right for you, put the canning jar lids on and move the jars to the refrigerator. I usually allow them at least a week in the frig before eating them.
Take that recipe and change the ingredients to suite you. It really is that simple. But I will give you some example of some that I like. Especially since I said I would.
Beet, Carrot & Cabbage Kraut
2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups fresh, shredded, whole beets
2 cups fresh, shredded, whole carrots
4 cups fresh, shredded red cabbage
2 Tbsp fresh, grated, turmeric root
1 tsp fresh, grated, ginger root
place the shredded beets, carrots, cabbage, turmeric and ginger in a large bowl and mix together. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the top of the mixture. Using your hands toss the mixture to get the salt evenly disbursed and squeeze as you do getting the natural juices started. Let set for at least 15 minutes before dividing into wide mouth quart canning jars. As you fill the jars, remember to push the vegetable mixture down into the jars, allowing any juices to flow above them. If there isn’t enough liquid once you’ve divided it all into your canning jars add a little pure watter to make sure vegetables are covered.
Using the Perfect Pickler Vegetable Fermenting Kit Master System I situate the lids accordingly and set them in the cupboard for about a week. Let them ferment, checking on the flavor after about 5 days or so. Again you are the one who knows when they have fermented long enough. It’s a matter of taste. Once it tastes right for you, put the canning jar lids on and move the jars to the refrigerator. Allow the flavors to meld a week longer in the frig before eating.
Note: Fresh beet and turmeric are two things that can stain your hands.
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