Sauerkraut Among Us


So.  Do you like sauerkraut?  I mean — have you given homemade sauerkraut a chance in your adult life?

I was reintroduced to the stuff when I lived with a roommate in Boston who was, according to a friend, “like a Level 10 vegan.”  Vegan roommate, an excellent cook, used to pack red cabbage in jars and let them ferment in a cabinet, adding the finished product to sandwiches and rice dinners and other things.  It was good sauerkraut, not creepy like the unmonitored vats at a hot dog stand, and I could see that it was very easy to make.  (It is easy on the level of doing your own laundry.)

Not long after I found a terrific fanzine called Wild Fermentation that teaches one how to make their own sauerkraut.  It also teaches one how to make cheese, or tempeh, or tej or yogurt or pickles and other fermented foods.  It has since been turned into a book but you can still find the stunningly simple recipe for sauerkraut here. Thank you, Sandor Ellix Katz, a.k.a. Sandor Kraut, for making your passion so accessible to us.

This most recent batch of sauerkraut gets a shout-out to Currant Ridge Cabins in McCarthy, Alaska, since the cabbages I used came from the proprieters’ garden. (It was a fantastic garden busting with vegetables grown under the 24-hour sun. The cauliflower was the sweetest, tenderest cauliflower I have ever laid lips on.  Lots of examples of what vegetables aspire to be.)  Main point here is that I lugged two heads of cabbage home with me to San Francisco so that I could make them into kraut. They were the heaviest part of my pack on the return trip, but totally worth it.

Something else exciting (to me, at least) about this kraut-batch has to do with the crock I found for making it at a Chinese import store. The crock fits one head of chopped packed cabbage perfectly, and it comes with three lids! The innermost one for pressing, and the outer two for odor blockage and dust stopping and overall good looks. It has the appearance of an average kitchen crock, and yet it behaves as though it was designed just for this task. It is so pleasing to find the right tool for a job.

The caraway batch pictured above hasn’t been heat-processed — it just stays in the fridge, since I am into probiotics.  Don’t you think the above picture looks kind of brain-y?  Like the jars are packed with pickled brains?

Well.  Next batch will be with arame and dried chiles. I will let you know how it turns out. I am thinking it will be awesome.

This recipe, however, is not for sauerkraut — I will leave that task to Sandor. (It’s easy, you can do it!  Come back in a week and a half, and you’ll be set.)  Here we have a “recipe” for my favorite form of bachelorette food that involves sauerkraut, for when you are feeling sort of lazy and you want to eat something that is snacklike in front of the television. It’s kind of like onigiri. Or a seaweed taco! And you can eat your fill without feeling like dying on the couch afterwards.

What you’ll have on hand for Bachelorette Snack #1:
Cooked brown rice, with vinegar if you like
A packet of Nori (my friend’s young daughter calls this “mermaid paper”. I have grown fond of the salted Korean kind of mermaid paper)
Sliced hard-boiled eggs OR egg-fried rice
Avocado slices
Grilled sweet potato fingers
Gomasio or Furikake

Rip off a section of nori and put it in the palm of your hand. Spoon some rice on top, then the sauerkraut and other toppings, add a few dabs of Sriracha, and wrap. Eat. Repeat.

A half or whole Nori packet’s worth of snacks, until you are full

1 comment
  1. Lina said:

    I might try and make this in my pickle press. I’ve never made sauerkraut but I have made kim chi. YUM

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