Classic Kraut with Caraway
Source: Kathryn Lukas, Farmhouse Culture
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA's Market to Table program on August 20, 2011
Makes 1 quart plus one pint
1 medium head cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon coarse grain pure sea salt (don’t use salts high in minerals or additives)
1. Finely slice cabbage into long thin shreds; set one small leaf aside. Add salt and caraway seeds. Let sit for 15-20 minutes and then gently massage mixture to aid in the release of liquid from the vegetables. Pack mixture into a quart-sized canning jar until the brine rises at least one inch above vegetables, making sure to leave at least two inches of space at top. Fold and push most of the reserved cabbage leaf into mixture, filling the last two inches of space. The leaf need not be fully submerged. Pack remaining mixture into a pint sized canning jar and follow the same procedure using the smaller bit of the reserved leaf. Close tightly and place both jars in an 8-inch x 8-inch glass container (like a Pyrex roasting pan) to catch possible juice overflow.
2. Find a place a in your home to put your kraut during fermentation that maintains a fairly consistent temperature; 64-70°F is the ideal range. A dark corner in the back of a closet is ideal in the summer and the cupboard above your refrigerator is better in the winter. After 5 days, gently release the build-up of pressure by opening jar slowly to prevent the briny liquid from bubbling out. Quickly close the lid and in 5 days repeat the procedure. After another 5 days taste the kraut to determine if it is sour enough. We like a 21 day ferment. Once the kraut is to your liking, place it in the refrigerator where it will keep for 6 months or more.
*Wire bail canning jars make checking the kraut easier, but a basic canning jar and lid will also work nicely. Canning jars are also now available with air lock kits that release the pressure for you.
*Investing in a fermentation crock with a water mote (like the Harsch crock) is worthwhile for larger quantities.
*If the brine bubbles out during fermentation, replace it with a filtered water brine solution using 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of water.
* You can use less salt, but crunch may be sacrificed. Minerally salts can cause off flavors.
Here's one way to serve your kraut:
California Kraut Salad
1 pound Classic Kraut with Caraway
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 to 2/3 cup good quality California olive oil
Toss all ingredients together and serve as a side salad.