I'm a Huge Friend Of Fermentation! In fact, I'm sure you are one too! Here's a sampling of delicious things that wouldn't be here today without our little anaerobic friend! Bread, coffee, chocolate, tea, vanilla, beer, wine, all alcohol, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, soy sauce and others!
I love attending demos, and after seeing the one and only Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and Fermentation Guru, I was excited to get started on my own batches of Sauerkraut. Unfortunately, the summer got away from me, but with Slow Food BU, we got Alex Lewin to do a second demonstration for a small group of us. Alex is a lacto-fermentation expert and all around great guy!
Why Preserve? Extends the "window of edibility" for that particular food and makes it available year-round. If you're not near the equator or in sunny cali, this is important if you strive to eat locally. Also, to create new tastes and textures. In the case of sauerkraut it also increases the nutrient and digestive benefits of the food. Besides fermentation, other methods of preservation are canning, freezing, refrigerating, and drying.
Is it Safe?? The Danger Zone for pathogenic bacteria is 40-140 degrees farenheit. Alex believes that fermenting is much safer than canning, because you will KNOW when something is going wrong. IE if its slimy or furry-TOSS IT! If your senses are telling you something is not right, steer clear. Also our ancestors all ate food that wasn't refrigerated-if that helps settle your stomach
Doesn't That just get Moldy and Gross?? Leave a vegetable out to sit in the air, and yes, you'll get mold, and it will turn into an awful slimy mess (i'm imagining, i'm lucky enough to never have witnessed such an atrocity!) But, leave out a vegetable covered in liquid you get acid-forming bacteria (=good). These probiotic bacteria begin to pre-digest the food, making our digestive tract's job a little easier, and keeping things regular, if you know what I mean
And without further ado, This is Alex's recipe:
Cabbage (the fresher the better!)
Wide Mouth 1 pint Mason Jars
Large Mixing Bowls
Weigh Cabbage and then chop, using a large chefs knife or a food processor
Add chopped cabbage and measured salt into a large mixing bowl and start to "knead" the cabbage (with clean hands!!). You want to start to break down the cell walls of the cabbage, with the help of the salt, and draw the water out of the cabbage.
Warning: Making Sauerkraut does produce a slight smell. I don't mind it at all, but one roommate can't stand the scent.
Variations-Wanna spice it up?? Well you can, literally!
- Add purple cabbage to make a more aesthetically pleasing 'kraut!
- Add herbs and spices!! Alex likes caraway, fennel or anise seeds. You can add this pre-fermentation, or when serving
- Try fermenting other vegetables! parsnips, raddishes, turnips, carrots, really any vegetable!
Alex is my new go-to sauerkraut guru, and I suggest you check out his site- Feed Me Like You Mean It, and see what's he's abrewin' -or @reply him!
Sandor Katz's Book and website are also a valuable resource!
Check out this ebook! It has some fun facts, such as....
- Sauerkraut is sexy! Not only does Heidi Klum love sauerkraut but the Croatian Times reports that saurkraut is a powerful aphrodisiac
**Thanks to Rachel from BU Today for taking some great photos with her fancy DSLR camera :) **