Friday, June 27, 2014

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut (Cthulu included!)

     Someone from plurk got me interested in fermenting stuff. Not sure why I suddenly jumped on board with this, but it seemed intriguing...and we now have a good sized garden which should hopefully produce lots of veggies. At least that's the hope. Anyway, back to the fermenting bit. So I became intrigued with the idea and was directed to a Facebook group called "Fermenter's Kitchen" which led me to a post about using whatever pickle recipe you like and modifying it to work for cabbage. Oh, what a dangerous idea. I'm not a huge pickle fan. Not sure why because I like the spices just fine other pickled items I've tried I like, but pickles just never caught on with me for some reason. Sauerkraut on the other hand...well, let's just say that I rather like it with various things. After a bit of research and some questions, I delved in and started my first batch June 18, 2014! Whee!
   I didn't think to take photos while making it, so you just get a few of it in various stages of fermenting.

This is the sauerkraut right after I put it in my handy-dandy jar. It's looks so pretty and green! I'll include a list of what I put in there too after I'm done with all the photos.

Off to the right are photos from about 5 or 6 days into the ferment. I had a bit of an issue trying to keep most of my cabbage bits under the brine. FYI-- A stainless steel steamer thing might seem like a good idea at the time, but it's really not. I had some odd gunk in there from the brine de-greasing it. Remove gunk and steamer and use a small fruit bowl and custard dish with a gallon ziplock partially filled with brine, stack like so, and viola! No more gunk and most stuff stayed submerged! Boom. Awesomeness abounds!
And here's the photo from yesterday. A little over a week into fermenting. It's rather warmish in the apartment (about 72F-78F, sometimes up to 80F), so we figured it'd ferment a bit faster. We had some kraut on a sandwich with some cheese, meat, cheese, and Parmesan ranch dressing and it was delightful! Had a bit of a bite to it due to the chili flakes in there. Mmmmm.

And you see that dill weed sprig there? Hubby and I decided that it looked like a sea monster...or Cthulu. Hence the Cthulu in the blog post. LOL.

OK, time for the recipe.

 Deli Style Sauerkraut

4 TBSP pickling salt (Salt to taste. You don't have to use quite this much, but make sure you get at least a 2% brine in the jar.)
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp, heaping of ground coriander
2 TBSP of dill weed (you could probably use dill seed, but I'm not sure how much.) I just pinched off a good sized sprig
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 heads (I only used about half a head) of garlic, minced
a 2-3 lb head of cabbage

Chop cabbage into thin slices. Place cabbage and salt in bowl and massage and knead and pound the cabbage so it can release some water. Take your time and get what you can out of it. I mixed in my other spices after that and let mine set in the bowl for about an hour before putting it in the jar. You can let it set in the jar overnight or just add water to cover the cabbage. You probably want it about an inch or so over the cabbage. Place a weight on top if needed to bring the cabbage below the brine. You don't want anything hanging out at the top for too long or it will start molding after a bit. Just let it sit for however long you want (some prefer 3-7 days, others 4-10 weeks...or more). Taste every few days to see if you like how it tastes. :D