One of the things I’ve fancied having a go at making is sauerkraut. All that lacto-fermentation stuff sounds really interesting, so now, when the market in Popovo is laden with humongous cabbages, seems like a good time to try it out.
I found a decent sounding recipe, and bought a cabbage. Because it was my first go, I only wanted a small cabbage to try out. The lady on the stall pulled a face at me; “But it’s such a small cabbage” she complained.
So, attempt one. This one failed because I didn’t properly read the bit that says “There should be about 5 cm of juices on top of the cabbage”. I’d left the cabbage in the fridge too long and it had dried out a bit, so there wasn’t enough water in the cabbage to cover it as the salt draws the moisture out.
Attempt two. This one failed because I forgot the first rule of pickling; “Thou shalt not permit metals other than stainless steel to come into contact with thy pickles”. I put my metal weights on the plate to press the kraut down, they touched the water and hey presto, instantly ruined.
Attempt three. It worked, yay! So, one very fresh cabbage, processed as soon as we got home for maximum freshness. I followed the recipe, so I won’t bother repeating it here, go look for yourself if you’re interested. I found a good-sized plastic jar to store the kraut in, a plate that exactly fitted inside, and three water bottles, filled with water, to press the mixture down.
I left it all for about three weeks to ferment, ensuring that I topped it up on the odd occasion that the liquid evaporated a bit. We had some as a side-vegetable the other night for dinner, and even Julie enjoyed it, so next year I’ll make loads as it keeps really well and is supposed to be extremely nourishing. Maybe the woman at the market won’t complain at me for buying pathetically small next time!