Made a gallon and a half of kim chee yesterday. Really nice (purchased but whatever) watery fresh cabbages. I don't use nappa, though that's the traditional cultivar of choice, as it has thinner leaves that seem to give a less crunchy finished product and I like my fermented cabbage to be chewy.
Never made it the same way twice. This time I grated up some fresh turmeric root (must grow this in our as of yet non-existant greenhouse someday.....but rarely I splurge and buy some from a fancy food store even though it's flown in from hawaii) and crumbled dried basil into the mix. Added dried jalapenos to one batch, left them out of the larger batch cause my sweetie's not so into the spicy stuff - but I am. I've used dried turmeric with good results, whole cumin seeds, corriander seeds, fresh and dried herbs of all sorts. Fresh marjoram and oregano is a really nice savory combination. I also added daikon radish and carrots, but don't every time. Daikon seems to help with brine production. Nothing worse than a dry cabbage that refuses to create her own brine!
I was told about the amazingness of saurkraut pizza recently! Anyone tried this? Squeeze it out really well and use it between the cheese and red sauce. I will try this out in the near future and report back.
I made sauerkraut, in self defense. I planted too many cabbages. And they lived! What do you do with 36 heads of cabbage, without a root cellar? I used the recipe listed in your link. But, I tried something, I used a plastic bin, that you get at the local store and it had a tight fitting lid, I weighted my plate down with a gallon bag full of just water, then, put the lid on it. Every day, I checked it, and made sure all was covered well with brine, and that there were no molds or anything getting into the act. Finally, I had sauerkraut from the gods. I am serious, put the grocery store stuff, even the most expensive ones to shame. But, I still had to store it. I put it into gallon jars, and just at the back of the fridge, where it stayed really cold. It lasted for a long time. We managed to eat it before any of it was lost.
Talk to your plants! If your plants talk to you...Run!
a good friend of mine has a couple of those Harsch crocks and loves them. I've got too many old stoneware crocks hanging around to talk myself into buying one, but I do covet them. a 50-liter would be so very awesome.
But, it wouldn't be vegetarian if it had swiss cheese in it.
Here's mine: Home made pumpernickle bread. Home made sauerkraut-I put caraway seeds in. Mayonaise (not vegetarian, but there are vegetarian varieties) and tempeh bacon, or MorningstarFarms vegetarian bacon if tempeh bacon is not available. You can put some mustard with the mayo. You can add fresh lettuce or fresh scallion if you like.
HA! I actually stumbled into cabbage fermenting in a similar way. We used to dumpster dive in PHiladelphia, and one night we got like, 60 something cabbages. And yeah, what do you do with them with no cellar? So I made my first batch with some of the remaining heads (we made most of them into everything else you can think of to make with cabbages) and liked it enough to buy the book Wild Fermentation, and it's been a wonderful relationship with fermenting almost everything ever since!
Finally, I had sauerkraut from the gods. I am serious, put the grocery store stuff, even the most expensive ones to shame.
Oh I KNOW! The first time I tasted homemade sauerkraut with caraway seeds and juniper berries, it was like, something clicked in the reptilian part of my brain. My body recognized that flavor, even more than kimchee (makes sense considering my ancestory)! And I've been totally hooked on soured cabbage ever since.
I want to make those crocks with the brine keeper lids as soon as we've got a ceramic studio up and firing here....someday.....sigh. I use glass gallon jars and the normal five gallon ceramic crocks with pretty good success.
One HUGE thing I've come to realize about making brined ferments, is that the humidity of your relative climate matters - A LOT.
In Philadelphia, none of the brine from anything in my kitchen ever evaporated to the point of needing to add more.
Then I thought I'd make my mom some soured cabbage while visiting my parents in Wyoming. I just weighted a plate in the crock like I normally had done, came back a few days later and it was DRY! SO WEIRD! The brine just WENT AWAY.
And now, in California?! I struggle to keep the liquid in my crocks. I generally stretch a plastic bag over the top of the crocks, over the weighted plate and all that, and that helps. But I still have to make sure that it doesn't evaporate too much, and sometimes have to add some salty water to the mix to keep everything below brine. When our cellar is complete I think the cold storage all thru summer will help in this effort.
Marina: You have a cellar in California? That's very unusual. I used to live in California (Santa Barbara) now Im in Alabama. I must say the humidity is good for preserving skin as you age, but I much prefer the California climate.
There seems to be something of a sauerkraut revolution going on. When I first started researching sauerkraut, I was amazed to find that it was a staple for Ghengis Kahn's troups who conquered most of Asia and Europe at one time. Im eager to find more recipes for fermenting other vegetables.
Yeah wombat, we're making a really big (12x20') totally undergroundconcrete block cellar. It's fundamental to the off-the-gridness of this place, even if it's requiring a lot of embodied/human/machine energy to create it. We don't have a refrigerator (we do have a cool-box that is "powered" by cold water) and we don't plan to get one. We miiiight get a chest freezer, but I'm not even really sure about that right now. I'd kinda rather not, but I might change my mind.
I also love California's climate - especially where I live! I grew up in Colorado, with similar arid summer time hot temps. Haaaated the east coast summer sweaty sticky icky humidity! Six years of that were plenty for me.
Wombat, you should really consider acquiring a copy of Wild Fermentation. It's such an amazing initiation into the amazing world of fermenting all kinds of things. And Sandor definitely has a vegetarian emphasis in that book. A short chapter on cheese, but no meat recipes at all.
FRUIT kim chee is one of the ideas I got from that book that changed my relationship with fruit. Imagine a fruit cocktail, but kinda fizzy, just a little bit sour, and really really really amazing.....
OL- it IS sad, but I guess there are reasons. I heard that someone sued a store after they got sick from eating food they got out of the dumpster. This happened in LA, I'm pretty sure, and now most all dumpsters in California have compactors.
I don't understand how that person won their case. That's the inherent danger (thrill?) of eating something that got thrown away. You have to use your nose and eyes and intuition to decide if it's safe to eat. Cooking meat very thoroughly is a good idea. I had friends who'd eat steaks in bloated vaccum-bags and I'd just try not to think about what could happen. No one ever even got mild food poisoning, though, so far as I know.
In Philadelphia the inner city dumpsters mostly had compactors, so we'd rent a zip car and drive to the suburbs in new jersey around midnight -- waaaay better stuff to be had out there anyway, not at all picked through. Occasionally we'd get caught, usually by the store managers. There were only a few times that anyone cared and then we'd just have to leave without our bounty.
We were very clean about it, but sometimes we'd show up and it'd be obvious that someone had been there before us. I think stores get annoyed when people come and dig through the trash and leave a big mess surrounding the dumpster afterwards. We always put everything back that we didn't take, had sort of a 'leave no trace' mentality. ha!
My whole friend tribe ate pretty much for free for several years that way, and who knows how much we kept from going to the landfill. I'd always take some flower bouquets too, and take them apart to get the good flowers and have fresh flowers all over the place!
There are lots of dumb laws about "waste" food. Like, public schools in CA (and this might be a federal thing) are REQUIRED to throw their food away. I can't come pick up breakfast and lunch leftovers for our pigs because of this, and it irks me, because that's a huge resource that I could be making into bacon!
marina phillips wrote: I don't understand how that person won their case.
Many moons ago when I was a teenager training to be a lifeguard, my instructor told the class an interesting story. There are people called "pool jumpers" that climb fences at night and play in pools. One night, one such jumper was playing ball in the pool. For whatever reason there was no rope separating the main swimming area from the deep well. This jumper drifted into the deep end and drowned. Turns out this guy didn't even know how to swim!
The family of the stupid.... I mean drowned... jumper sued the pool for negligence because there's a rule that there should be a rope there. The family won.
I think our society as a whole has gone into the deep end with a lack of personal responsibility and we have the case law to prove it!
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