Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sauerkraut and bread crumbs

I'm learning that there is no end to the raw food journey (and I've only just begun!). Just as in the world of cooked food one can choose from an absurd number of "the best possible diet ever" options, so it is in the raw food community. There are those who juice, those who eat only fruit, those who eat nuts and those who don't, those who sprout and those who graze. It's a dizzying array of choices and I have an uncomfortable feeling that I have only just scratched the surface. Ahhh... for now I'll just take a deep breath and grab a macaroon (raw, soaked and dehydrated).

So I promised you two things - a sauerkraut recipe and an update on the bread. I'll give the update first. The bread was a failure if what you want is bread (which was what I wanted). I ended up making the recipe twice, sure that I had missed something, miss measured or just plain missed the boat. In this particular case I am convinced the mistake lay in the cookbook directions because what I ended up with, both times, was a big tin of bread crumbs. Tasty, but bread crumbs nonetheless. But I didn't give up. Below is one of my creations with the bread crumbs -

lettuce, rosemary garlic bread crumbs, salsa, herbed cream cheese (see previous post) and avocado. Quite delicious actually.

And now for the long awaited sauerkraut. Bear in mind, I have yet to taste this sauerkraut so I can't vouch for it (although it certainly smells like sauerkraut) but I will offer you the recipe.

You start with 5 lbs. green cabbage and slice it thin. You can also use the grater option on a food processor if you have one. My husband, back to the land man that he is, prefers to cut it. Just make sure, if you do it by hand, that the shreds are no thicker than a dime.

Mix cabbage with 4 T. Kosher salt. Use your hands or a wooden utensil (again my husband used his hands), to mix until the salt dissolves. Then when the juice starts to form you pack down the mixture into a crock or a glass container or a five gallon plastic bucket (as shown in the picture at the top of the post). Make sure the bucket is food quality. I'm assuming you know what this means.

Make sure the juice covers the cabbage (the juice that results from the tossing of the cabbage and the salt). My husband then prepares additional brine at the ratio of 1 1/2 T. Kosher salt to 1 quart boiling water. Let brine cool. Add to pot with cabbage. Then place a large dinner type plate over cabbage and way it down with two quart Mason jars filled with water. Cover with plastic wrap.

Then cover that with a towel. You can then put a board on it and weigh it down. The key is to submerge the cabbage under water so that no air gets into it.

Place the container in an area where the temperature will not be about 75 degrees. Allow three weeks. If the temperature is 70 degrees allow four weeks, 65 degrees allow five weeks and 60 degrees - six weeks. If the temperature is above 75 degrees it may not ferment and could spoil.

And voila - the bulk of the work is done. You know it is done when it tastes like sauerkraut.
Rinse and toss with cold water. Place in quart jars and keep in the fridge.

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