This has been something I have both feared and looked forward to learning the mysteries of, fermentation. I’m impressed with the magical way it unlocks nutrients in food. Making them more readily absorbed.
An article on pro-biotic capsules not being as effective as once thought made me think I’d have to “whole food” this myself. After the mass doses of antibiotics given after cutting myself in the garden (My toes have healed wonderfully. Wear proper shoes please.) I knew it was time. Still being chicken I bought a jar of fermented kimchi, and noticed my digestion was better. 2 jars later I knew it was time to try.
Walking home from the farmers market I had everything I needed except the crock to ferment in. Sort of backwards I know. Luck would have it I had a wide selection of suitable containers at a local 2nd hand shop. A few of the crocks were to large, and heavy for me. I picked a large crock from clearance for 6.00, a smaller one for 10.00, and a wonderful shaped cookie jar that will work nicely as well for 12.00. A steal of a price on each one compared to new. You have to inspect them well for chips and cracks for safety.
I used the sauerkraut directions from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz loaned to me by an old friend. Fueled by his encouragement, and Sandor’s directions to play with the ingredients I got started. 5 lb shredded veg and 3 tablespoons sea salt. I may have been a little short on veg, about 4 quarts in my large mixing bowl, I still used the 3 tablespoons of salt.
I finely shredded the cabbage after cutting the hearts out. Tossed a few handfuls orange, and yellow carrots in the food processor to grate, sliced some onions and 1 small chili from my garden tossed it all together and jammed it into my lovely new to me crock. I packed it down with the plastic tamper from my vitamix, helping express their juices to make a nice brine with the salt. Used the lid of a pyrex dish fitting perfectly inside the crock to hold the veggies under the brine. Added a glass jar full of water on to top to weight it down, and covered the whole thing with a cloth bag to keep any bugs out.
Now I wait a few days till it starts bubbling, skim the bloom off the top, I’ll know my unseen allies are hard at work. A week later it’s tasting time! You can leave it to ferment longer than a week, and the flavor deepens I’ve read. Can’t wait to test my new project!