We were thoroughly introduced to fermented foods and Sauerkraut while at the PDC in Vermont. After doing some reading on the subject, I knew it was something we would have to get into. You can basically ferment any and all foods for preservation. It also makes the food more available, and adds a nice change to some of the food we eat. We decided we were going to make some “Sauerkraut” and this was the result. We made it in a 5 gallon bucket because we don’t have a crock.
Chop / Grate Everything Up
Add the Fermenting Magic
Salt and Water is the magic ingredients for fermenting foods. When doing a Sauerkraut you actually use the water that is in the vegetables. You add the salt, (in this case we used roughly 1/4 cup I think) and then mash it all up. Osmosis draws the water out of the cabbage and other ingredients. Normally people use crocks for sauerkraut but all we had was a 5 gallon bucket (which definitely works). You basically need to mash everything up and get it to where the water can be squeezed out and cover all of the vegetables.
Let it Ferment
Now we play the waiting game. We used a plastic plate and a jug of water to hold down the vegetables while it is submerged in its own liquids. This basically has to happen for about a week. Everyday we had to “burp” the bucket by pushing on the weights which would let out the gasses produced via the process. It uhm, smells like broccoli farts. Quite nasty, haha.
Pack Into Jars
Well that is all there is to it. Now we just have to pack the final product in jars to put into the fridge. (It stops the fermentation process, or at least drastically slows it down. Generally people would bury this stuff, or put it in a root cellar over winter which would stop the fermentation process. In our case its our fridge. A tip I found out is you can over salt it when its done fermenting which should also stop the fermentation process.)
Well here is the final product. Made quite a bit of Sauerkraut and it is definitely extremely good. It’s hard to explain to a lot of people because it isn’t like the Sauerkraut you normally think of that you put on brauts and what not. Really there is no good term to describe “fermented foods” other than “Sauerkraut or Kimchi”. Really if anything those are just two techniques of creating fermented foods (usually cabbages/winter greens). Sauerkraut you use the water that exists by squeezing it out, kimchi you wilt the cabbage with salt, then create a sauce and pack it in jars. Another technique is kind of a combination of the two; salt up the two, and then put a brine ontop (not fermenting only in its own juices).