How to make the most of the late brassica harvest? Sauerkraut! Fermented cabbage is a hard thing not to love. It’s spicy and it’s sour and it looks beautiful too, especially made with your own red cabbages.
The cabbage harvest was not what we’d hoped for, with lots of half-headed cabbages that were obviously perfect for… something. So when in doubt, sauerkraut. Because ferment takes any vegetable and makes it better.
As to the process, I’ll let Rose explain:
“Ok, as you are shredding/slicing the cabbage, sprinkle a good handful of salt over it as you go, say every 1/4 of a cabbage and once all the cabbage is sliced and salted, give it a good bash with end of rolling pin or other blunt object then leave for 24 hrs.
At this point if the cabbage is fresh there will be enough liquid to cover the cabbage mass once a weight is placed on top and then you can leave it to ferment for around seven days, or longer if you want the kraut to be stronger.
If there is not quite enough liquid to cover, make a salt brine to top it up of 2 tablespoons of salt per litre of water. Spices and other raw veg can be added at the start of the ferment process if you want, like cloves, juniper berries and carrot.”
Our friends Nikki + Dan of Scythes Australia sell the awesome Gärtopf crock pots for fermenting, which up until now have been really hard to get in Australia. They’re out of stock just now but should have a new load in mid-November, at which point we’ll certainly be getting some more!
If you have the space to keep them, the larger 15 or 20L pots do make sense to us. You don’t need to necessarily need to fill them entirely in order to use them, and this means when you do have a serious glut of veggies to ferment that it will all fit in!
On the theory and recipe side of fermenting, we highly recommend all Sandor Katz‘s books, which are downright awesome:
The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World – 2012
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements – 2006
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods – 2003
Wild Fermentation: A Do-it-yourself Guide to Cultural Manipulation (pamphlet)
Most images and also the kraut recipe by Rose Newberry, permachef of dazzling degree.
Thanks for the info sounds great will try to get one of the pots when they’re back in stock . So many people have told me the fermented food are very good for your digestion and general health. Thanks again Kay
I’ve been experimenting with making this stuff for the last 6 months, but just in a ordinary bucket. Comes out well. One of these days I’d like one of these crock pots though 🙂
You might be interested to know of the existence of the Pickl-it anaerobic fermentation glass jars with airlock also available in Australia from http://www.kitsaskitchen.com.au We also make and sell organic raw cultured vegetables which are a great aid for digestion and very healing for the gut.
Nathan- I wouldn’t recommend making them in a bucket as the acidity of the vegetables may cause the chemicals in the plastic to leach into your food. Best to use glass jars with an airlock or a crock.
Aren’t red cabbages so beautiful. For me they always grow so small and take so long , but really they are very dense and wonderful after all. Thanks very much again.
Thanks for all the ideas and reciepes for permaculture from half way round the world
From Becky in Tucson Arizona A place where gardening defies probability till you learn a few basic tricks
And how to use a glut of ‘kraut? a kindle book, “sauerkrauts incredible fascinations’ by Shirley Hensley, – stews, cakes, sweets….(?) every recipe we tried has been a winner! I just cant stand the title! We often add a little apple to friendly-up the texture. Great Post!!
Hi Kirsten, Wonderful article. The new supply of crockpots have arrived…along with some “Rumtopf” pottery jars (fresh seasonal fruits covered with Rum and kept for later consumption…great over ice cream) AND traditional steam fruit juice extractors. http://www.scythesaustralia.com.au Cheers, Expect a visit soon.Dan.
In case anyone is interested in buying starter cultures for water and milk kefir and Kombucha tea you can now get them online from http://www.naturaltherapyshop.com.au/fermented-foods/