Monday, March 14, 2011

The Makings of a Monday

Yesterday I mentioned buying cabbage to make sauerkraut.  I love homemade kraut, and it is so good for you, too!  I started by chopping one head and putting it in a bowl to pound.  I added kosher salt, too, which helps to draw the juices as well as preserve it.
 As you can see, I had a little "helper", because I was sitting on the floor within easy reach of his busy little fingers.  I used my new jar of coconut oil to pound.  After pounding off and on for an hour or more (and trying to use my leg to keep my son out of the bowl) the cabbage looked like this:
I set this aside and chopped and pounded the second cabbage.  I wasn't getting as much liquid out of the cabbage as I have in the past, so I think I may not have been using as much salt as needed.  Cabbage ferments quite nicely all on its own, but I had some whey I had saved from good plain yogurt, so I added that to the mix and blended both cabbage batches together and put it in my gallon glass jar.  Lacto-fermented foods have extra goodies for your digestive system.
Can you believe that is 2 whole heads of cabbage?!  Not much more than half a gallon.  As you can see in the next pictures, there wasn't enough liquid to cover the cabbage, which is important so it doesn't mold.  Fortunately I kept the liquid from my last batch of sauerkraut, which was made from red cabbage, so I added that to the top of the jar.

The final step is to make sure that the cabbage is covered completely with no air against it, so I put a plastic bag (well, two of the produce bags) inside and filled with water, making sure to get rid of any air bubbles I could see.  As it ferments, air bubbles will form on their own.
Isn't it pretty?  I love learning how to make yummy, healthy food for my family.  I know it's better for us than store-bought, and usually cheaper, too.

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