Fermentation

Yes, I’ve been back into the world of sauerkraut again, despite having a fridge full of the stuff! πŸ˜€

My top shelf in the fridge is over half full of stacked up glass jars, full of fermented carrot sticks, fermented coleslaw, straight sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and fermented ginger and carrot too. There are several other jars of ferments in there too. My fridge looks like a chemistry fridge in high school. πŸ˜‰

Still, I had a garden full of turnips and cabbages that needed to be harvested so I got busy in the kitchen making ferments again. πŸ™‚

Just some of the cabbages I have in my garden.

Just some of the cabbages I have in my garden.Β And just some of the weeds too.Β 

First things first, harvest. One of the cabbages ready for harvest was Allegra’s “pet” cabbage, Purpley. I was a little apprehensive about how she would go when I chopped him but she was well proud and more than happy for him to be “killed”. Yes, I am a slaughterer of cabbages, a killer of brassicas. πŸ˜‰ The turnips required no-ones permission. The leaves and under-formed turnips were well appreciated by both the neighbours chooks and ours too. Even the goats got some. πŸ™‚

Allegra holding Purpley with Jas and the rest of the ready green cabbages .

Allegra holding Purpley with Jas and the rest of the ready green cabbages .

The turnips received a wash and had the roots and tops cut off before I took them to my mandolin slicer, turning them into julienne strips of crispy yum. πŸ™‚ I’d also found a single beetroot that I added to the mix. The resulting strips were shoved into small instant coffee jars before receiving a brine mix with some sliced cayenne chillies in there for good measure. Job done. πŸ™‚

IMG_0317

Washed and ready

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I love my mandolin slicer and most of all I love the slicing attachment that means my fingers remain safe. Those blades are SHARP! Best of all, it cost me $2 some years ago at an op shop.

Given that we grow our veggies using organic principles and I also follow the lazy gardener approach which means I usually don’t get around to spraying with organic sprays when needed either (I get the kids to pick off any obvious bugs in exchange for sultanas or dates πŸ˜‰ ) so our veggies need to be carefully picked overΒ unless you’re not to bothered about the extra protein. πŸ˜‰

Protein that thought to make a getaway.

Protein that thought to make a getaway.

After picking off several stowaways nestled well inside the outer leaves, I sliced the cabbages, carefully checking for any extra guests as I went, mixing a little of Purpley into each bowl of cabbage. I was stuck with a problem though. I am currently a little low on jars with lids aside from my fowlers jars and I don’t own (and likely won’t buy) a fermenting crock, so what to do? Enter in large enamel ware stock pot!

Protein-free cabbage being sliced.

Protein-free cabbage being sliced.

As I addedΒ the cabbage to the stock pot I bruised it with the end of the rolling-pin and added in a few sliced onions too. Over the top I poured the leftover brine from making the fermented turnips so there’s some of my home-grown chillies in there too. Yum!

Using an idea I’d seen, I weighed down the sauerkraut with a glass bowl and some plastic bags filled with water. As the cabbage has fermented down I have place a small pate on top of the sauerkrautΒ instead of the bowl, and placed the water filled bags on this plate, ensuring the cabbage stays below the surface of the brine. It goes mouldy if it’s in contact with air. The bags have also added extra weight and effectively sealed the top of the pot too.

Purpley was a most well formed, albeit slightly small, cabbage. Well done Allegra.

Purpley was a most well-formed, albeit slightly small, cabbage. Well done Allegra.

Now, interestingly, the turnips and beetroot mix have all turned bright red. Given how little beetroot is in there I am astounded at the depth of colour that has come out. Most pretty. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure yet if the turnips have taken the colour on or not. Purpley has done the same in the sauerkraut and the brine is a bright bluish purple colour.

This one hasn't formed such a tight head. Anyone know why?

This one hasn’t formed such a tight head. Does anyone know why?

I guess I will need to clear out the rest of that top shelf once my Ball mason jars arrive. πŸ˜‰

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17 thoughts on “Fermentation

  1. Leigh says:

    I love lactofermented anything! It all started with cabbage and wow, like you, realized that goodies were everywhere for the chopping or slicing. I have nothing in the crocks at the moment, don’t even have my fall garden in. What’s the matter with me!

    • I’m sitting here reading about fermenting beetroot (beets) and realised I have none planted so I’m jumping the gun just a little. The more I ferment the more I realise I can ferment and the more I enjoy eating fermented foods. πŸ™‚

  2. Loved this post.. I have never made sauerkraut, but have really enjoyed it to eat when I was abroad in Austria and Germany.. I bought jars here in the UK but it never seemed to taste the same somehow.. Its extremely good for you.
    Thank you for sharing.. and Loved the Protein that got away.. πŸ˜‰ We have lots of similar protein in our garden… I am sure unintentionally we have eaten a few over the years.. πŸ™‚
    Have a great week..
    Sue

    • The supermarket sauerkraut is made using vinegar and cooking the cabbage. If you had the home-made and fermented version in Germany and Austria then they are almost completely separate foods and the fermented stuff is heaps healthier for you too. I can’t but recommend giving it a go. It’s really easy and although over the years I’ve been making it I’ve had 1 batch tasted awful and a few small jars that have gone mouldy, for the most part it’s been a roaring success. πŸ™‚ 1/2 an hours work, tops, 2 weeks waiting and then YUM! πŸ˜€

  3. I’ve never tried sauerkraut but may try this recipe πŸ™‚ I’m not 100% certain but I think the fact that one of your cabbages didn’t form a tight head is to do with the firmness of the ground. I know with Brussels they have to be trodden in very firmly to produce buttons.

  4. mikestasse says:

    It’s funny how you should write about this now….. well, it IS the season I suppose, but after a hectic two or three weeks getting our house in order for a possible buyer from Victoria (and now maybe an additional one from Brisbane..!) plus the two Sustainable House Day events over the last two Sundays, the garden looks so neglected, and the brassicas are well and truly ready for harvest…

    So I too will be making oodles of saurkraut this week, and blanching/freeing all the remaining broccoli before they bolt in the Qld fast warming Spring…

    I only grow purpleys now…. I love the colour, and they seem to be less attarctive to the cabbage butterflies than green cabbages, and boy have we had our fair share of the darn insects this year. As the climate warms, they appear earlier and earlier, and for the first time were not detracted by the ‘cold’ weather we had for one week in which we had 3 or 4 frosts even.

    I can’t wait to move to Tassie and abandon the insects….

    • Don’t count those chickens on avoiding the WCM grubs. We’ve had them pretty solidly here too and it was only when we had 2 killer frosts in close succession that they finally bugged off (-6.5C twice in a week – the first one they somehow survived or new eggs hatched perhaps). I’ve got about 2 dozen more cabbages still growing including some very pretty swirly upright ones that look like purple flames which I hope head up fast as I need to prep those beds for spring planting in a month or so. I really NEED to get my root cellar built or my fridge will be so full of ferments that there will be no room for anything else.
      Wish I lived closer Mike as I’d come give you a hand. I love making sauerkraut. πŸ™‚

  5. kmfinigan says:

    Preserving your veggies is fantastic! Im not so much into the pickles myself (or my partner for that matter) so we expend more energy working out other ways to preserve. We didn’t get the glut of cabbages you seem to have, but have a heap of broccoli and cauliflower that we are now preserving. Check it out for an interesting recipe! http://bit.ly/1uBWpqq

  6. mikestasse says:

    Geeveston (in Tassie) doesn’t get as cold as where you are! I don’t recall anyone living there telling me it goes under zero much, let alone -6 (which we have seen here about 7 years ago…) Maybe the insects get blown away crossing Bass Strait!

  7. Lynda D says:

    I applaud you Jess for raising children that enjoy (or at least eat) fermented veggies. Most kids need honey added before they will touch carrots so that they no longer taste like carrots. That hint about making the ground firm to avoid lose heads is a winner – such a wealth of information your readers are. Im going on the hunt for a Mandolin as well. Definitely using the hand protection – im a walking disaster in the kitchen, band-aids are my friends.

  8. narf77 says:

    Who needs a fridge eh? Just fill that sucker up with ferments and my mandolin is old school sans hand protector. I guess the French sneer at hand protectors as they are SO very adroit at food prep…pity I am not French ;).

    • Pity I can’t wield a knife like a chef! I am profoundly grateful for the hand protection on my mandolin. I live in fear of needing to pick that last slice out of the mandolin when it gets stuck. I really like having all my fingers.

      • narf77 says:

        I keep trying to burn mine off in Brunhilda or slice them with knives or getting splinters in them. One day they are going to go on strike (or I will cut them all off and will only have stumps πŸ˜‰ )

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