Be Brave, Be Bold, Make Sauerkraut!
When I was first faced with the prospect of making my own fermented veggies I thought the idea was distasteful, inconvenient, dangerous and gross. The reported health benefits sounded great, but even I had limits as to just how “natural” my lifestyle could be.
Eating rotten vegetables ranked up there with the acceptance of body odor and reusable toilet paper. No way.
I am a busy modern woman with family, work and commitments. I am drawing the line at fermented vegetables.
Fast forward 6 months... I was enjoying great success making my own kombucha and kefir. My family and I were enjoying the health benefits of adding kombucha and kefir to our daily routines and they were a joy to drink as they tasted great.
During this time I often used Donna Schwenk’s website: Cultured Food Life as a resource for recipes and articles. Donna talks about the “Trilogy of Fermented Foods” for optimized health which are Kefir, Kombucha and Cultured Veggies.
Intrigued by her recipes and annoyed that I was missing out on 1/3rd of the Trilogy, I decided to try basic sauerkraut using kefir whey. I figured if the sauerkraut was a flop I was out a head of cabbage and a little bit of salt - no big deal. As a bonus I would get some kefir cheese out of the deal - YUM!
Risk/reward assessment finalized, I plunged forward on my kitchen adventure. Check out my blog post on how to make cultured veggies. Not only is my sauerkraut the best I have ever tasted it is ridiculously easy to make!
I remember, from when I was a kid, my mom making sauerkraut in a huge crock that sat fermenting in the basement for what seemed like months. Then she would jar it all up and process it in a canner. It was a ton of work and a very long drawn out process.
Comparatively, to get live, lacto-fermented kraut I just chop up a head of cabbage, fill 4 quart jars, add water, whey, and salt, screw on reusable plastic lids and let the jars sit on the counter for about 5 days. After that I pop them into the refrigerator to stop/slow down the fermentation process where they last for up to 9 months. When we polish off the last jar I repeat this process. The cost is next to nothing and the time commitment is 30 minutes max.
I know that sauerkraut isn’t amicable to everyone’s taste buds. Even though my husband, daughter and I love it, my son, the resident picky eater, does not. Emboldened by my sauerkraut success, I went on to try lacto-fermented salsa, pickles, carrots, beets, and a veggie mix based on this recipe. The salsa was the biggest success and now a staple in our house. Even the picky eater loves it.
Though I am a fan of “baby steps” when trying to implement healthy changes into a lifestyle, when I look back on my trepidation concerning cultured veggies I laugh. It is one of the easiest and most delicious endeavors that I have undertaken to date.