I found this book last year called Wild Fermentation, by: Sandor Ellix Katz. He is a god. I cannot say enough good things about this book. The really good thing is- he has another book out called, This Revolution Will Not be Microwaved. They are both must reads!
In Wild Fermentation, Sandor teaches about fermenting vegetables, making breads, drinks and more. I took on a few projects last fall including: making sauerkraut, homemade wine, ginger beer, kombucha and bread. Most of the projects worked out, some did not. I had an explosion of ginger beer. I had it fermenting in a one gallon glass bottle when it exploded…it was a mess. It sounded like a shotgun blast, I was hit with a chunk of flying glass and I had a gallon of sweet/sticky ginger beer on my floor.
The difference between this book and other “cookbooks,” is it takes time. Some recipes take a day or two, others take months. It’s a perspective changing book if you have no experience with fermenting food.
I wanted to share my sauerkraut making experience. To make sauerkraut you need two ingredients: 5 pounds of cabbage and 3 tablespoons of sea salt.
You give the cabbage a good chop. Put it in a bowl layering the cabbage with the salt. After that you want to put it in a container. I use a half gallon Ball jar. Start to pack the cabbage into the jar. Pack it real good, I use a wooden stick to jam it all in.
This is when something really neat starts to happen. The salt draws water out of the cabbage making a brine. Continue to pack the cabbage into the jar. The water will slowly make its way to the top.
I had to use the half gallon jar and a quart jar to fit two cabbages. I saved two of the outer leafs to put on top of the brine. They press the chopped up cabbage down below the top of the brine. I covered with a cloth and I am letting it sit on my counter. I will taste it every few days to see how the sauerkraut is progressing.
While it is fermenting the cabbage should always stay below the brine. You can make extra brine, if needed, by using 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of water and adding it to the container. The brine protects the cabbage from all the bad bacteria. There is a potential of some mold or scum forming on the top; you are able to take that off and the sauerkraut will be ok. That is one reason I use a whole leaf to press down the cabbage, it will not be eaten.When it is at the stage I like it I will put a lid on it and put it in the fridge.
I can’t wait to make Reuben sandwiches. Most of all I am looking forward to making sauerkraut brownies. It sounds like it won’t taste good, but they are some of the best brownies I have ever had.