Monday, February 11, 2013

SAUERKRAUT 'my Grandmother's recipe'

Sauerkraut, so good and so good for  you.
I grew up eating homemade sauerkraut, my parents, grandparents always
had a vegetable garden and growing in it were rows and rows of
beautiful heads of cabbage.  In another row one can see a lovely line
of beet tops and it's red heads buried in the ground, nice and firm and plump
just waiting to  be picked and made into borscht, cabbage rolls and of
course  tangy, zippy sauerkraut.  
I remember making the sauerkraut in crocks and storing in our root cellar.
 We  always had 'red sauerkraut' coloured this way
 with beets from the gardens.  My family loves to snack on sauerkraut, I love to
 put it into bread ' pyrohi' (tarts)  as well as our 'vareniki', we also love to eat
it with a soup called 'Halooshki'  (dumpling soup) so, so tasty.
As a snack we like to cut out the 'fermented wedge of cabbage' aka sauerkraut into  chunks
drizzle a bit of oil on top and enjoy perhaps with a slice of freshly baked bread......oh the memories
sure to take me back home......comfort food for sure.
....Sauerkraut as immune booster
One of the not so secret benefits of sauerkraut is the boost it gives to immune systems. Packed with vitamins and minerals, sauerkraut has been used as a lay immune booster for centuries.Sauerkraut contains phytochemicals which are created during the fermentation process. These naturally occurring, beneficial by products of sauerkraut help boost the immune system which leads to a decrease in a number of health problems. Eating sauerkraut is a great way to protect the balance of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L.
The finished easy.
The ingredients you will need.
The brine (salt and water) on the stove coming to a boil.

 The gallon jar is sterilized, the cabbage is sliced into wedges
and the raw beets into thin slices.

The wedges of cabbage and put into a large  bowl
and covered in boiling water for 30 minutes,
then drained.

A few slices of the beets are added to the bottom
of the gallon jar.

 Layer the wedges of the drained cabbage
between slices of the beet until you have
filled the jar and used up all of your cabbage.
Layering the cabbage and beets slices to maximize
the space in the gallon jar.

Here is a view  of the layering... I sometimes
add raw horseradish slices to this for a bit more flavour.

Cabbage and beets are all in the gallon
jar, brine has been poured to cover the cabbage.   Do not  seal the jar,
leave on counter for at least 4 days ( sometimes it takes longer)
until you see bubbles ( fermentation) taste occasionally to see how 'sour'it is -
and if it's to your liking then it's time to refrigerate.  You may need to add a bit more brine
as the cabbage will absorb some of the brine as the process starts to work.
Day 2 on the counter.
Make sure to leave the lid off (covered only with plastic wrap)  the gases
will expand and bubble, you don't want the jar exploding on you.
This will keep in the fridge until you are done eating it!
You can shred your cabbage and follow the same steps as above.
1 large head of cabbage, cut into wedges or shredded
Boiling water
   1 large beet, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Brine: (for a  1 gallon jar)
9 cups water
1/2 cup salt
Cut your cabbage into 1/4 inch wedges, cover with boiling water.
Let stand for 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
For the Brine:
Bring water and salt to a boil, simmer until salt dissolves.
Layer your cabbage  wedges then a few beet slices and
continue to do this until all cabbage is in the jar.
Pour in brine to cover the top of the cabbage.  
 Cover with plastic wrap or dish towel and let
sit on the counter for at least 4 days (it will depend on how warm it is in your kitchen)
After about 4 (and sometimes as long as 7) days  you will see  bubbles forming
on top, the fermentation process has begun.  Taste the 'juice' to see how
'sour' it is.  If it is not sour enough (to your liking) let it sit a few more days.
Then refrigerate until needed.