Sauer-ing the Kraut

Well, check one off the ol’ bucket list.

Ok, ok, so maybe making sauerkraut isn’t exactly monumental enough to make it onto a bucket list, but nonetheless, it’s something I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve got a lot of Ukrainian in me (my mom is 100% Ukrainian, and we are from a very Ukrainian village… yes, village… in Canada; where everyone is a -chuk or a -ski or an -ov, etc, and all we eat is perohe and holupchi and borscht and kapusniak and… sigh. I miss my upbringing.) and so I try to keep cooking the things Mom and Baba used to make. I’ve already attempted (and semi-succeeded) sour cabbage leaves, which were used to make sour holupchi (cabbage rolls, yo) for Christmas. Now, apparently sauerkraut is all the rage these days being a fermented food, but the Eastern Europeans are way ahead of that hipster bandwagon. By the way, my baba is going to be 99 this year, and her mother lived to be 100-and-something, so I’d say the fermented foods work.

Anyway, there is nothing easier than fermenting cabbage, either whole leaves or as sauerkraut. You literally put it in a container, put a dash of salt in it, and cover it with water. Then you let it sit. And done. Ok, a pb&j is easier. So is McDonald’s. And every other fast food upon which the great American nation was built… forgive me, I got carried away. But it’s incredibly easy, immensely tasty, and of course so-very-good-for-you.

First I just chopped up the cabbage…

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And Susannah was quality control from the ring sling.

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Dump all the chopped cabbage into a bowl, and mix in about a teaspoon of salt. Let that sit for a few hours to draw the water out of the cabbage, which makes it easier to pack into jars.

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Stuff it into your good old trendy mason jars, and there should be enough water from the cabbage to basically surround everything you’ve got in there once it’s all packed in tight. I added some caraway seeds to give it a good flavor.

This is where I’m at in the game, but it will need to ferment for about a week. I’ll have to open the jars every day to “relieve the gasses” (yes, you let the jars fart.) Sometimes you have to skim off some moldy stuff (NBD guys) and let out some water, but that’s it! In a week, I’ll have delicious, perfect, FERMENTED sauerkraut (not pickled) for a grand total of less than the dollar it took to buy a head of green cabbage.

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Ain’t they pretty?

*Special thanks to my big sis, Melissa, for the darling matryoshka measuring cups. They complete me.

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