Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
This week I had on my pal Aaron Joel Moskowitz who taught me about fermented veggies vs. pickled veggies and how easy and healthy this process really is. Here are the basic instructions for a simple vegetable sauerkraut.

2-3 large heads of red or green cabbage, shredded (save five large, outer leaves for cover)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 lemon
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 in. fresh ginger, crushed
1/8 cup sea salt
(Optional) hot pepper, green onion, broccoli, beet, etc.

Place all the above ingredients except for the salt in a large bowl. Mix up and massage vigorously adding salt as you go until the juices start to get released from the vegetables. Put mixture into large crock or deep stainless pot, and push flat. Cover with outer cabbage leaves and brine solution made of 4 c water to 2 tbs sea salt. Tap water will spoil the fermentation process, so use purified water from the store that has no chance of having chlorine in it. Press the vegetables again and keep them under the brine by placing a plate or a lid on top weighted down by a rock or a jug of water. Cover with a clean towel if needed to keep out fruit flies.

Place the fermentation container in a warm spot in your kitchen and allow the Sauerkraut to ferment for 5 to 10 days. Various temperatures will create different tastes. Over about 72 degrees may reduce the quality of the kraut or cause spoilage. Check on it from time to time to be sure that the brine covers the vegetables and skim the top of any foam or irregularities.

A good way to know when it’s ready is when it stops producing bubbles and you are satisfied with the tanginess. Store in jars and refrigerate. Cover each jar with juice from the batch. The kraut should last several months.