Figuring out Fermented Foods


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About a month ago, I took a class on fermenting vegetables at a local kitchen store. Here’s a big shout-out to Jill Willet, our instructor at Whisk! Thanks for making this so easy and inexpensive to do!


The above jars turned out great, so I decided to try it at home, all on my own. I followed Jill’s basic outline and then added my own twist. 


First, I gathered up my ingredients and tools:


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 I sliced a small head of cabbage and placed it in a bowl.

cabbage

I grated 3 carrots (with my handy Salad Shooter):


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I peeled, grated and added some fresh ginger, turmeric, horseradish and jicama. This part is unnecessary, but I just did it for fun and variety. I also added a couple of garlic cloves.


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Then I sprinkled a rounded tablespoon of natural (not refined) salt on top.


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Toss, and if you want to and have the time, cover the bowl with a dish towel and let stand a few hours to release some of the juices and make the next step easier.


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Next comes the hard part. It’s time to massage and smash up your mixture in order to release the juices. You accomplish this by grabbing a handful, squeezing it and using your knuckles to smash down the vegetables not in your hand. 


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Repeat for about 2-3 minutes until you have reduced it down by about half and have a good amount of juice in the bottom.

massaged cabbage

Now you’ll need some wide-mouth mason jars. According to our instructor,  if you could only buy one item, buy a funnel like this one, with a wide opening (about 2 inches) that will fit on top of your jar. This makes it substantially easier to stuff the cabbage mixture into the jar!


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Press the cabbage down into the jar and fill, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Now you need a plastic disk (made from a plastic lid…


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Place it inside the jar, on top of the cabbage. Push down so the cabbage remains submerged under the liquid. Place a weight of some sort on top of the disk to keep it down. I had to use a bud vase on one of my jars because the opening was smaller than my regular mason jars.


in jars


Cover with a cloth so the gases can escape as it ferments, and secure with a rubber band.


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Don’t forget to label them!


Now they’ll just sit on the counter for 1-3 weeks to ferment. Check them every few days to see if any mold is growing of the edges of the jars and needs to be wiped off, but I haven’t had that happen yet. The mold is similar to the white mold you find on Brie cheese. There’s nothing unsafe about it, but you’ll still want to keep your jars clean so it doesn’t alter the flavor.


Begin tasting after about 1 week to see if the sauerkraut is ready. It’s all a matter of preference. I like mine to ferment about 3 weeks.


When ready, remove the disk and weight, and seal with the lid to the jar. Refrigerate and enjoy! 


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Want this recipe? Click here.

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™