Sauerkraut Recipes

Today I was at my aunty and uncles house having a lovely family lunch. My uncle John was asking me about the sauerkraut I make. John's mother came from Poland and used to make the family sauerkraut and other fermented veggies and he missed that distinct taste. Mrs Kaz very sadly passed away with all her amazing recipes passed down from generation to generation still in her head. I only wish I could sit down with her today and quiz her about her recipes. If only I had had my fermentation enlightenment before I saw her last! Oh what I could have learned! 

That's one of the things to ponder with traditional foods like this. For thousands of years the recipes and methods were passed down from parent to child, generation to generation. And whether they knew the health benefits or not, or whether they knew about probiotics and the importance of gut health, it didn't matter because it was a tradition. This birthright seems to be something that's now lost. Refrigeration and canning has only been around for such a short time in the whole scheme of things.. what did we ever do? We started using the fridge to keep food fresh instead of using the age old methods from our ancestors. 

What? Fermented? Bacteria? How could you knowingly eat that?? You should see the look on my sisters face when I even mention the word "Kombucha" or as she calls it.. Mushroom tea. 

Yes I admit it does take a little shift in your mindset to get your head around it but only because we've been brought up in an age where there is a war on bacteria. Well not all bacteria is bad and if you focus on more of the getting the good bacteria in, then your body will be much better equipped to fight the bad guys.

Before the invention of Westinghouse, one method for preserving foods was to ferment them. The goodness from vegetables is apparently more bio available when you eat them fermented rather than eating them fresh. And it's not just about the vitamins and minerals. It's all the good bacteria you are putting into your gut that will help you have a happy healthy tummy. Why have an inner health plus tablet when you can have yummy lacto fermented condiments that add zest, flavour and zing to any dish?  

If you'd like to read more about this I highly recommend Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

BUT you don't need to read a book about it to get started. The fun part about fermented foods is experimenting! So dust off the old high-school-chemistry-student version of you and jump right in! 

This week I made 2 different lacto fermented Sauerkrauts. Here are the recipes...

The method in both is the same.. the ingredients differ. I use all organic ingredients to make sure I'm not adding any nasties to my ferments.

You'll need a rolling pin or something to pummel with and some mason jars or something to ferment in.  Also make sure everything is washed and very clean.. you don't want to be introducing any bad bacteria into your ferment.

THE PINK LADY

1 x half a medium white cabbage shredded

1 x half a medium red cabbage shredded

4 tablespoons fresh whey (see my blog post on making whey.. also you can sub this for a starter culture if you're vegan or ditch it altogether and add a bit more salt but I like to use it)

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1 tablespoon of good quality celtic sea salt

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 shake of turmeric powder

1 handful of fresh mint (I love the combo of cumin and mint!)

 

 

 

 

 

THE BOW WOW CHICA KA POW (She's spicy!)

1 x half a medium white cabbage shredded

1 x carrot grated

1 x red onion finely chopped

2 x cloves of garlic with the core removed and finely chopped

1 large handful of basil

1 shake of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 

1 teaspoon of chili flakes

1 tablespoon of good quality celtic sea salt

1 good grind of the pepper grinder

A good shake of smokey paprika

4 tablespoons of fresh whey

 

METHOD

Toss all ingredients in a bowl making sure the salt is evenly spread. If you like you can massage the salt through the cabbage.

Using the rolling pin bruise the ingredients as much as you can. This will help get the juices flowing.

Place all the ingredients into the mason jar and using the rolling pin pound them in. After a few minutes you will start to see juices rising to the top. You want to make sure there are juices covering all the ingredients before you seal the jar.

Make sure you leave a good inch of room at the top to allow for expansion as the sauerkraut ferments.

After 10 minutes or so of pummeling the vegetables you should be ready to pop the lid on. 

Leave on the shelf for 3-5 days or even longer depending on the flavour you prefer. It's good to 'burp' the jars every day or so to let air escape and after 3 days you could taste the sauerkraut daily until it reaches your preferred flavour. If it's cooler in your kitchen it will take longer to ferment and if you are fermenting in a warmer climate the fermenting will happen much faster.

Once it's ready, then pop it in the fridge and enjoy! 

The Pink Lady bubbling away after 5 days of fermenting.

The Pink Lady bubbling away after 5 days of fermenting.

Experiment with how you like to eat your fermented veggies. It's not all about a kransky and sauerkraut. I like to have it with eggs, or tossed through a salad for extra zing, with a barbecue, with cheese and nibbles or even just a mouthful of it after a rich meal to help me digest.

The juice in the jar is great to use in salad dressings! Packed full of probiotic zing and goodness!

Also it doesn't end there.. try fermenting any of your favourite veggies. One of my personal favourites is a lacto fermented spicy tomato relish. Mmmm mmmmmmm.

Enjoy! X