Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saur-beet-carrot-onion-kraut



One cabbage a week. Seriously.

What was I thinking when I got a full CSA share of vegetables just for me? (That's 8 whole vegetables a week from One Straw Farm.)

To be honest, what I was thinking was that I would preserve all of the extra produce to have year round. And I've been doing that somewhat. But all this canning gets tiring after a while!

So I decided to take the route somewhere between cooking and canning: fermentation.

Fermentation is a great way to preserve vegetables for a long period of time without having to can them. All you've got to do is chop the veggies, mix with brine, cover, and wait.

These jars were sitting on a shelf with my other canned goods and cooking supplies in Chicken-Man's house, but I put them outside on the shaded outdoor porch since four quarts of fermenting veggies was starting to get a little pungent. I'm hoping the shade will keep the porch at a cool enough temperature.

You do have to babysit the jars for about a month to make sure everything smells and looks ok, and that the vegetables stay submerged under the brine. I did go on a trip recently and a lot of the liquid had evaporated by the time I got back, so scooped some of the vegetables off the top just in case and poured more brine over the top.

If you've ever smelled saurkraut before, you should have an idea of what it should smell like. Basically it's pungent, but not rotten smelling. There may be a few white specks on top of your brine where it hits the air, but you shouldn't have any discoloration.

The white saurkraut in the front jar has been fermenting the longest. There are some beets and onions thrown on top of the cabbage in the jar all the way to the left. Should be pretty obvious which one is the beet!

I have lids on most of the jars (except the one in the back) but I'm thinking I really should have fabric on there to give the beneficial microbes some oxygen. Shoot. Put it on the list of things to do tonight. Hopefully I can do a taste-test and let you all know how the fermentation is coming along.

UPDATE: Did a taste test the next morning (Wednesday 8/4). Yum! I put a rag and rubber band around the top of the jars instead of lids. Luckily everything was tasting as it should. Nice and zingy! Definitely some lactic acid going on which is good.

The book Wild Fermentation has been an excellent guide on this probiotic journey. It's taught me to let me imagination run free beyond saurkraut and yogurt, which is how I ended up experimenting with this beet-carrot-onion mix.

Here is the recipe I used for the saurkraut pictured above.

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