It all started pretty innocently with a friend bringing a store bought carton of sauerkraut to my house and raving about the benefits of that strongly smelly cabbage concoction. I had never heard about sauerkraut before and after she left I went into research mode (one of my favourite modes after Puttering mode). I quickly became fascinated by the “magic” that happens when placing plain cabbage, salt, and water in a glass jar and waiting it out! Scrumptious sourness packed with beneficial bacteria and boosted micronutrients.
I ended up purchasing a 1-gallon glass jar with an airlock. I was afraid to ruin my batches of kraut with the pretty common mold and everything I read pointed out that the airlock was the way to go. The jar was huge! Sometimes 4 cabbages were not enough to fill it and I would spend hours in the kitchen chopping and “massaging” cabbage. Presently, you can find smaller jars with airlocks (hurray!) but I now much prefer just using 1-L mason jars. I place a glass on top of the Mason jar to weigh down the cabbage – removing it for a few hours a day and pushing the cabbage down with a fork to help release the bubbles of carbon dioxide – and keep an eye on the water level (cabbage should be submersed at all times!).
In a mason jar, I only need a couple of cabbages and less than an hour of my time to have a sizeable amount of delicious sauerkraut and it makes it easier to pursue other lacto-fermented adventures! Yes, this sauerkraut-making business is addictive! You can basically lacto-ferment any vegetable and fruit, and mix different spices and herbs. The sky is the limit! Looking for inspiration? I love Jenny from Nourished Kitchen. Her site was a huge help when I was just starting out and if it wasn’t for her I might not have tried making kraut, kimchi, yogurt, or even kombucha until much later on or at all. How deprived of delicious flavours our family would have been then?!
I have used Jenny’s Pickled Jalapenos and Moroccan Preserved Lemons recipes and I still go to her site for information and ideas. Another really cool Fermentation Guru is Alex Hozven. Check out this video or this one, and then tell me that you don’t what to go to the kitchen and start doing pickles “the real way”!
P.S. –My kids have been eating kraut and other preserved vegetables (kohlrabi is their second favourite) since they gained teeth and they love it! Normally it’s the first thing they eat off their plates at meal time! Probiotics to the win!