My next dare after adding sauerkraut in my diet was making my own. Whoah. Trust me, I didn't think of this all by myself. A friend of the family (Hi, Mike!) grew cabbage in his garden and suggested we ferment it into sauerkraut. Of course, I was game. Didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but that's okay. It was awesome and definitely a learning experience.
We browsed several different recipes online to get an idea of the process and printed out Diane Sanfillipo's Easy Recipe for Raw Sauerkraut. You can also find good instructions at Nourished Kitchen.
Mike had grown cabbage in his garden, so we took the green and red leaves and chopped it up really small.
By massaging and pressing the salted cabbage, the waters would naturally come right out.
Mixed it up in a way-too-big mason jar, with carrots and garlic that we shredded, as well.
It took a lot of work pressing the cabbage and carrots down, but we eventually squeezed enough out and got the water level to rise above the cabbage itself.
Following Diane's advice, we topped it off with a cabbage leaf, to seal off the submerged cabbage from the air.
We put a water-filled ziploc bag on top of the cabbage leaf to weigh down the leaf, pressing the cabbage down to keep it below the water's surface.
Quite the concoction!
Then we waited. 2 weeks... taste testing. The red cabbage turned the water bright pink!
After about 3 weeks it still tasted crunchier than it should have been, but this could be because we didn't shred the cabbage thin enough.
Mmm, kraut! (It came out more crunchy than it should. When I met Diane Sanfilippo and showed her the photo (I did, after all, follow her instructions), she said it doesn't look like we cut it thinly enough. Will do better next time; this was a learning process!)
Then began the smelly process of moving the sauerkraut into smaller containers.
If you use a small, regular-size mason jar from the start, you can skip this step. We used an absurdly large jar.
Filled two containers and put them in the fridge. Once they're kept in the refrigerator, they stop fermenting. Eat whenever!
Have you ever fermented your own vegetables? Dare you to!