Monday, April 23
The trick? A dowel. At Living Light Institute we were taught to salt and vigorously massage the cabbage. Yes, that will work eventually, but I am a lazy Neanderthal. Pounding the kraut with a dowel is an easier way to squeeze out the juices, and juice is the key to successful kraut. You absolutely must have enough liquid to adequately cover the kraut, or you will indeed, as I did in prehistoric times, create primordial ooze. Below is my recipe for Rainbow Kraut, but maybe I should call it Cavewoman Kraut. Now you know what the club in caveman days was really used for.
1 head cabbage mandolined (reserve four cabbage leaves whole)
1 bunch raw golden beets, peeled and grated
1 apple grated (I like green apple)
2 carrots grated
1-2 tablespoons salt
optional: *1 tablespoon microplaned ginger—add this after fermentation
Mix everything together in a large pot or vessel that won’t break or splash when you begin to mash the kraut. (If you aren’t using the “dowel” method, any large bowl will do). Massage with your fingers to distribute the salt. Let rest for a while (a few minutes to a half hour) to allow salt to absorb in and begin to draw out moisture.
Pound the kraut with a dowel for 10-15 minutes until you can see a pool of liquid forming. If you don’t have a dowel, vigorously massage with your fingers in a big bowl until liquids release. You are done with your kraut is very juicy because you will need enough juice to cover it when it is mashed down.
Transfer to a large jar, crock or open mouthed water pitcher (I use a water pitcher). Cover with the left over cabbage leaves and mash down until the liquid rises above the kraut. Find another vessel that is narrow and heavy that you can fill with water or weight down in some way. I use a tall, narrow glass container filled with water. If you use a crock, you may want to place a saucer on top and the weighted object on top of that. Press down until liquid seeps above the veggies.
I put mine on top of a cabinet, but just put it out of the way somewhere.
Check it in about 5-7 days. Remove any scum around the edges. Taste the center. If it is still crunchy and not very sour, let it go longer. Most people go two weeks or more, I only go 7-10 days. The more days you ferment it the more it breaks down, is softer and more sour. When it arrives at desired taste, you can jar it or, if desired, stir in 1-2 tblsp microplaned fresh ginger.
Store in mason jar and again punch down to let liquid seep above cabbage. Refrigerate.
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