Monday, August 04, 2014

Sauerkraut (Take 2)

It’s been a year, but finally I get over my laziness and have the time to attempt another batch of homemade sauerkraut. The probiotics fad is pushing fermented food everywhere: small craft vendors at local farmers markets (like Britt’s Pickles), a new section in the grocery store, and last week I even saw batches at Costco. But all of these craft-made, non-industrialized products has one thing in common: they’re all expensive, on the order of a few dollars per cup. Why not do it myself?

Doing it yourself is a hassle only if you let it. Two weeks ago, I decided to figure out a way to make my sauerkraut as easily and quickly as possible. Here are my instructions:

  1. Buy a head of cabbage and chop it into long pieces. A food grater would work too, but I don’t have one, and didn’t want that to get in my way. I just used a regular knife.
  2. Stuff the chopped cabbage a little at a time into a cheap ceramic pot. Sprinkle a little salt on every layer.
  3. Squish everything into the pot as compactly as you can. It’s important that you see liquid coming out of the cabbage, ideally bubbling up enough that it covers the top layer.
  4. Find something to keep the cabbage squished into the pot. I used a small plastic sandwich bag filled with water, which works nicely because you can adjust the size as needed.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid that can keep everything inside, but will release slightly as the fermentation begins. There will be carbon dioxide gases rising from the fermenting cabbage and you don’t want the lid to explode off.
  6. Wait a week or two.

That’s it! The entire process, of setting up the crock with the chopped cabbage, then putting it in the garage took under an hour — maybe half an hour. Now, two weeks later, here’s what I have:

Served in a nice sandwich:

So easy!