Friday, September 01, 2006

Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut - adds needed enzymes and probiotics to your diet and is very high in Vitamin C.

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Listen to NPR's, The Gut Is A Real Melting Pot

Ingredients: 1 large head organic green (I like to make a double batch combining 1 red and 1 green) cabbage (the fresher the better, it contains more water naturally), 1 1/2 Tablespoon NON-IODIZED salt per head of cabbage (iodine is antimicrobial and could inhibit fermentation)

Optional Ingredient: Fresh Chopped Dill

Optional - finely chop fresh dill and set aside.

Finely slice Cabbage.

Add salt to cabbage and toss to combine well.
I use unrefined GREY Sea Salt.

Fill a good quality zip lock bag with salted cabbage. Remove air, seal tightly, and pound gently for about 5 minutes. You do not want to break the bag and lose the juice so go very gently.

Empty the bag of pounded cabbage with juices into a glass or ceramic bowl. Repeat till all cabbage has been pounded.

Optional - add fresh chopped dill and combine.

Pack down tightly and cover with a plate.

Weight down the cabbage/plate with a gallon size ziplock bag 2/3 filled with water sealed securely with a rubber band. This weight adds pressure to help force the natural juices out of the cabbage.

Cover with a piece of cheesecloth.

Allow this to ferment on your counter top or cubbard, out of direct sun light for 1 to 3 weeks (in warm weather fermentation will proceed more quickly, in cool weather more slowly).

Check the kraut in 24 hours to be sure it is submerged in brine. If necessary, add 1 cup of CHLORINE FREE water(chlorine kills microorganisms and will inhibit fermentation) mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt. The fresher the cabbage, the more water it will contain naturally, and this step will not be necessary. The volume of the cabbage reduces as the fermentation proceeds. The brine should rise over cabbage so all cabbage is submerged. Check daily. Press down on plate when necessary.

Taste the kraut after 3 days it should start to get tangy, then will get stronger the longer you leave it to ferment. You can remove a portion of the kraut to start enjoying, but be sure to pack the remaining kraut down tightly again to continue fermenting.

Sometimes mold or foam will appear on the surface, just skim it off. Its just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine.

NO unpleasant smell should result from fermentation. Trust your nose to be your guide. If in doubt, compost your kraut and try again.

When done to your satisfaction, store in glass jars in the refrigerator. Eat at least 1 Tablespoon with each meal.

Other ingredients to try adding: garlic, seaweed, greens, herbs.