Cooked cabbage is extremely good for our digestion and, even better, is the “cooked” version that we get when we make sauerkraut. Fermentation not only gives us digestive enzymes and probiotics but it makes all of the vitamins and minerals inherent in the vegetables and fruits more bio-available to our bodies. And it's delicious! We needn't eat a lot of it either. Condiments are vital go-alongs with our meals.
To make this fancy sauerkraut, you will need:
• 1 large cabbage
• 3 or 4 carrots
• 1 medium onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 Tbsp sea salt
• 5 Tbsp homemade whey* (add an additional Tbsp of salt if not available)
• 1 Tbsp celery seed
• 1 ½ gallon jar
• 1 pint-sized Ziploc bag
• meat pounder
• 1 small rock, cleaned, boiled and cooled.
1. Slice the cabbage into ¼-inch strips and put into a large stainless steel bowl (bowl may get damaged from the meat pounder, so don't use a special one).
2. Peel and dice or crush garlic and set it aside in a small bowl. Garlic only releases its medicinal properties once it is cut and allowed to rest as is for about 10 minutes.
3. Dice the onion and add to the mix. Grate the carrots and slide into the bowl.
4. Transfer the garlic from the small bowl into the mix.
5. Wearing gloves in order to not get a blister, pound the mix, stirring often. This will release the juices. After there is a good amount of juice at the bottom of the bowl, begin to fill the jar with the mix.
6. Press down the cabbage often as you fill the jar — you want the cabbage to remain under the juice. Fill the jar to within 2 inches of the top. Put a little bit of the juice into the Ziploc bag and seal. Place this bag at the top of the jar in a way that it keeps all the other ingredients under the juice. Put the rock on top.
7. Seal and leave on a kitchen counter for 3 days before storing it in the refrigerator.
As the sauerkraut is eaten, be sure that the leftovers remain under the juice.
Pour the mix into a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl.
The curds will stay in the cheesecloth and the whey will flow into the bowl.
Celeste Longacre and her husband, Bob, have lived sustainably for more than 35 years. They grow almost all of their vegetables for the year and preserve them by freezing, canning, drying and using a home -built root cellar. Celeste ferments much of the couple’s produce and makes her own sauerkraut, kimchee, and fruit and beet kvass. She is the author of Celeste’s Garden Delights and writes a gardening blog for The Old Farmer’s Almanac. For more information, visit Celeste’s website, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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