Wild Sauerkraut Recipe

| 7/22/2015 12:09:00 PM

Tags: sauerkraut, foraging, fermentation, Kirsten Shockey, Oregon,


Fermentation is wonderful way to experience and enhance the benefits of foraged foods—let me explain. Truly wildcrafted greens or roots from forest, field, and stream often yield small portions of nutrient dense foodstuffs. Some people believe the untamed nature of these resilient plants create a more vital food. Fermentation is not only an age-old method of storing a bounty, but in the case of foraging is also a way to “stretch” the essence and vitality of your favorite wild greens, roots, or shoots. Small doses of wild vegetables will enrich an entire batch of sauerkraut.

Finding wild edibles definitely strikes deep at our core—after all, our species foraged, as in hunting and gathering, most of its existence.  I like to think that a relationship with our food is nourishing on a whole different level than the act of simply putting something in our mouths. Just as our gardens or connections with our local farmers provide connectivity to place, so does picking a handful of miner’s lettuce at the base of a cedar tree. Collecting wild foods forces us out of our routines not only when we tramp through the wild spaces but also when we put that food on our plates. As soon as we ask the question what is there to eat, we must pay attention and look deeper—a “weedy” vacant lot can suddenly appear instead as a succulent crop of Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album).

Foraging can’t, and shouldn’t, replace or be the sole source of any part our diet. This planet of ours is too populated to sustainably serve up found food all around—think overgrazing.  Practically speaking (and this is the big thing on an individual level) is that our lives are not arranged to spend most of our waking hours procuring calories. Instead, foraging is an amazing way to punctuate our plates with beauty, unique flavors, and enriched nutrients all while cultivating our connectivity. And fermentation is an ideal way to capture each of these benefits.

In the following universal recipe you can enliven kraut by adding a “dose” of foraged vegetables.

Kraut Base for foraged greens

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