Fermenting veggies for fun

My youngest child has always had digestion issues. Nothing too exciting, mind you, she's just always a little "off". But she LOVES Sauerkraut and if you know anything about fermented foods, this is a very good thing. I've been getting it from a friend but recently, Lorien and I decided it was time to start making our own and possibly offering it for sale at our monthly market days here at the Farm.

I am, like many domestic things, clueless on the subject of fermenting foods. Lorien knows plenty. Again, this is why community based living makes so much damn sense. So we got together and made some sauerkraut and kimchi. I didn't take many photos of the process because I was running in and out of the house more than expected. Mark had to be delivered to the airport for an out of town gig. Then we needed more cabbage. So Lorien and my food processor did most of the work. But I helped! I did! Here are some pictures.

making kraut today

Cabbage gets run through the processor (slicer blade, not grater), then spiced. We used salt and the spices you'd find on an Everything Bagel, working with what I already had in the cupboard. Mix them all up, then into the crock. There's also some shallot in there and we discussed adding garlic, but never actually did.

cabbage goes in

This is the point at which I decided we needed more cabbage and ran out to get some. You think you have so much and then the salt does its thing, you smash it down and it appears to be half of what you thought it would be.

placing the weights

Lorien then placed the weights and this was the point where we realized we maybe put too much in. But we got all thug-like and forced it into submission. Well, Lorien did. I stood by and said encouraging words.

kimchi!

Lorien also made a whole batch of kimchi when I wasn't looking. We had dropped by a home brew store the week prior for two-step valves so the air created from the fermenting process could be released without allowing air in. This keeps things from exploding. Also it makes it darn near impossible for contaminants to be introduced.

tucked away so they can ferment

Then we stuck the pair of them in the unused shower in the main house. You add water to the crock lip to create a natural valve. The best part is when it gets going, it audibly burps at you. I totally want to make our own labels and call it "Rude Crock" Sauerkraut.

The whole process took us a couple hours and we'll have to wait almost a month for it to finish fermenting (faster if it's warm out and the juice we used from another batch actually helps the process, slower if it's cold and the juice we used was dead).

Can't wait to try it!