Test Kitchen – Fermented Foods…

 

SAUERKRAUT

Fermented foods clean the gut and puts good bacteria into the intestinal tract. Fermented foods include Sauerkraut, Kimchi, etc. Today, I will talk about SAUERKRAUT. Store bought, processed sauerkraut is not as beneficial as homemade. I have always loved ‘sauerkraut’, but it wasn’t until I made my own that I found out how delicious it really is…FORGET ABOUT THE STORE BOUGHT!

Sauerkraut is a German Cuisine. I ate it all the time as a child, but I don’t remember my mom ever making it from scratch.

I researched years ago how to make it. There are many versions of homemade sauerkraut on the web, in books and magazines. The following is the version I found in the newspaper and decided to share it.

Traditionally, homemade sauerkraut relies only on cabbage and salt. These 2 ingredients, put together, create a beneficial bacteria that ferments the ‘cabbage’ and creates a pleasant, sour, fermented vegetable.

First, decide how much Sauerkraut you want to make. I found that 1 small head of cabbage (about 2.5 lbs) makes 1 quart of sauerkraut – so adjust the recipe according to your need or want.

SAUERKRAUT

Ingredients:

1 small to medium head of green cabbage
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt

Equipment: Fermentation Crock or Wide Mouth Mason Jar, Kraut Pounder

Instructions:
1.   Remove damaged or bruised outer leaves from the cabbage
2.   Cut cabbage in half and remove the core. Shred the cabbage (1/8 inch is good).
3.   Toss the shredded cabbage and salt together in a mixing bowl. Let rest for about 5 minutes…until the cabbage begins to soften and release a little liquid.
4.   With Clean Bare Hands or gloved hands (if have cracks or sores), squeeze and knead the cabbage until it releases more liquid. Continue this process until there is enough liquid to cover the cabbage. I don’t put a time limit on this processing part.
5.   Pack the cabbage into your container – crock or wide mouth jar. Push it down until packed tightly in the bottle or crock to get rid of air bubbles. Be sure the cabbage is submerged in the liquid. I pack it down with a wooden spoon or my meat tenderizer pounder. You can also use a potato masher depending on the size of the jar opening. (I don’t have a Kraut pounder…have never even seen one).
6.   When container is nearly full with the liquid covering it – seal the jar or crock. Allow it to sit at room temperature (I suggest a dark place – like inside the cupboard where it stays warm – especially in an air-conditioned house). In warm conditions, it takes about 6 to 8 days to ferment. If cooler it takes longer – up to 12 days. Test the sauerkraut after the first week and every few days after that until it is sour to your liking. I found I could use it after 1 week. What I didn’t use, I kept in the jar in the cupboard until it was a little more sour before I transferred the same jar to the refrigerator. You can change the sauerkraut to another container, if you wish, before transferring the jar to the refrigerator. It will keep for 6 months up to 1 year. I make the smaller batches and refrigerate so I don’t have to use the canning process.

NOTE: The trick is to pack the cabbage down in the jar good…so the cabbage is always covered with liquid. You don’t want the liquid to evaporate out or the fermentation process will stop or take longer to work. You can add liquid (water) as needed when you check on it, if the liquid does evaporate out. However, I like to keep packing it down so the original liquid covers the cabbage. I don’t like to dilute it with water. If a scum forms on top, dab it off with a paper towel and discard.

There you have it – Homemade Sauerkraut…that can be used as a condiment or side dish. Pairs well with Kielbasa or Polish sausage and or anything you want to try it with.

SAUERKRAUT & TUNA SALAD     

Can be eaten as a salad or put on a sandwich.

1 1/2 cups homemade sauerkraut
1 can Albacore Tuna
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (not Salad Dressing)
Juice of half a Lemon, fresh squeezed (not the         bottled juice)
Salt, pepper and/or any other seasoning is OPTIONAL
Also optional – you can add fresh cubed tomato, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber and/or avocado.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust mayonnaise so mix is not too liquidy. Enjoy as a salad, side dish, or on bread. I use Wheat Flaxseed Bread rounds or Flat bread for an open face sandwich.

This is my original recipe: Be CREATIVE – make it your own.

GREAT FLAVOR – Nothing tastes as good as seafood and a spicy homemade sauce. You will love this one – guaranteed to please.

 BONUS!

SUPER-EASY COCKTAIL SAUCE:
Stir together 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 Tbsp. horseradish, 1 tsp. hot sauce, 1/2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice in a bowl. Serve with seafood, over shrimp, or with crab. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

I will be sharing my experience of making KIMCHI with you all, soon. I have to eat all of my Sauerkraut first.

MMM GOOD! Love to you all…and God Bless!

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