August 4th, 2005

Uses for Sauerkraut

I've been reading about the benefits of fermented foods, and it's gotten me thinking about how much I miss sauerkraut. When I ate meat, I loved hotdogs with sauerkraut, a good dense mustard and onions or relish. I try to eat mostly whole foods, so I don't do meat analogs beyond occasionally using tofu or tempeh in a recipe, so just switching over to fake hotdogs doesn't really work for me. I'd appreciate any suggestions -- other dishes sauerkraut might go with, or a sauce for beans or tofu that would make it seem more sausage-y, to do a sort of homemade fake hotdog.
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mixed vegetable fermented pickles

this is a great recipe for slightly aging vegetables and stuff you have a lot of that won't keep for long. this is how dill pickles and sauerkraut is traditionally made. this is a live-culture food and has beneficial bacteria which are what create the vinegar like environment that pickles the vegetables. i always have a jar full of brine around to throw extra stuff i get from Food Not Bombs or the garden into for later. if you want a smaller amount just half or quarter the recipe.

you need a :
1 gallon jar with a lid
something like a plate or cup that fits just inside the neck of the jar to keep the vegetables submerged in the salt brine

3- 4 pounds sliced firm vegetables(cucumbers, bok choy, other cabbages, green beans, carrots, chiles, green tomatoes, daikon etc.)
6 tablespoons sea salt

optional seasonings:
sugar,
garlic cloves whole or crushed,
ginger,
green onion,
black pepper corns,
dried chili flakes or powder,
coriander seed,
herbs fresh or dried such as dill
rice wine or liquor(vodka is good)

make sure the gallon jar is clean.

dissolve sea salt in a half a gallon of purified water. stir until thoroughly dissolved.

place the seasonings then the vegetables in the jar and pour the brine(salted water) over them. put the object( i use a little bowl) on top of the vegetables making sure it submerges the vegetables in the brine. this stops mold from forming. put the lid on loosely and then put the jar in a cool, dark place with a plate under it to catch any overflowing brine. the vegetables should be pickled in a few days. try them and see.

you can keep adding stuff to the brine as you go. just add salt as well. the more populated with bacteria that the brine becomes the faster it will ferment the vegetables. put the brine in the fridge in between uses.
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