Sauerkraut (adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz)
*Works best in a ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater
Ingredients (for 1 gallon):
5 pounds cabbage
3 tablespoons sea salt
Chop or grate cabbage. Place in a large bowl as you chop it.
Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage.
Add other vegetables, fruits, spices (e.g. caraway seed), as you please. Mix together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight forces water out of the cabbage, which keeps the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
Leave the crock to ferment–at room temperature for a quicker fermentation, in a cool basement for a slower fermentation that will last longer.
Check the kraut every day or two. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. Once it tastes good to you, put in in your frig to slow down the process.
Other fermented foods to try with the same process using local veggies: (just make sure to use 3 tablespoons salt per 5 pounds of veggies)
Kimchi (or Kim Chee or Kimchee)—a traditional Korean condiment; grate or finely slice the vegetables
Cabbage, carrots, onion, hot peppers, garlic, ginger
Corn Relish—a great way to have fresh corn available through the winter to throw in burritos, soup, etc.
Roasted sweet corn (cut kernels off the cob), sweet peppers, hot peppers, cilantro
Gingered Carrots—grated carrots and ginger
– Spring Wind Farm