What with the fall cabbage harvest coming in, it’s time to turn that surplus into a German, and German-American, specialty. Namely, fermented sliced cabbage, better known as Sauerkraut.
Pictured above is a first day ferment, complete with fermentation lids, made by yours truly for next to nothing, and a nice quart I made last spring. My mother in law Agnes Olga would fiddle around with giant crocks full of cabbage, but not me. Give me a lid and an airlock any day.
One medium Cabbage, sliced
Apple Wine (substitute any white wine)
This not exactly traditional recipe is kicked up by the addition of the wine. Among other things, it insures the fermenting cabbage will not be exposed to the air. Also, a bludgeoning tool is most efficacious when it comes to stomping down some fresh cabbage.
The sliced cabbage needs to be crushed to release the water contained in the leaves. The big one does that, and the small one is used to pack the jars. A medium cabbage only makes two pints of kraut, if they are properly stomped on. Ferment for three to six weeks, depending on how sauer you like your kraut.
This is a great first fermentation project. That, and the final product tastes great on a good bratwurst.
Remoulade sauce in the South is used on everything from salads to shrimp. I make two versions, one for salads, and one for mostly seafood dishes, including the fabulous fried catfish po boy. We’ll start with the simple version.
I usually only make enough of this for one meal at a time, so I stick to a ratio of four parts of mayo to one part each of mustard, ketchup, and lemon, and then salt to taste. A sweet Bavarian mustard is also excellent in this, if you can find it. You can also add sweet pickle relish.
And then there is the savory version:
Dill Pickle, chopped finely
Scallions, chopped finely
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
This one is more traditionally Southern, as it has some kick to it, hot, salty, and sour. I just made some fermented Garlic Dill Pickles, and I can’t wait to add some of those to this recipe. Proportions of the four main ingredients should be roughly the same as the first version, and the others are a matter of taste. I go light on the pickles and capers.
I have all the makings for a fried catfish po boy for this upcoming holiday weekend, except for some good Carolina Classic catfish. Time for a run to the market.
Since I bought a copy of The Art of Fermentation by Katz, I have just been walking around looking for things to ferment. I also made my own fermentation lids, so as to keep from having to buy overpriced ones that are half the quality of mine.
Ball Plastic Storage Lids
Tattler Rubber Rings
Three Piece Airlock
5/8″ Food Grade Grommet
As far as tools go, the minimum is a drill with a 1/2″ drill bit. After cracking a few lids, I went to drilling a pilot hole with a smaller bit, and then brought out the big bit. I also turned the lid upside down and put it on some scrap wood. The cracked lid rate went to almost zero. Here’s the buisiness side of the lid.
The rubber ring is necessary to create a seal for the fermentation process. The fact that a 5/8″ grommet needs a half inch hole has to do with quantum physics, I believe.
Need a recipe? How about pickles.
4 cups Water
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Dill Seeds
1 Bay Leaf
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoons Peppercorns
Cayenne Pepper Flakes
1 quart Mason Jar
Dissolve the salt in warm water. After it has cooled, pour it over the cucumber/herb/spice mixture. Slap on a lid and an airlock, and ferment from one to three weeks. The longer they go, the more sour they get.
The same fermentation lid will also help you make the best sauerkraut you’ve ever eaten. I add a little homemade (fermented) Apple Wine to my shredded and mashed cabbage, and some caraway seed, just for a twist. After that, no vegetable in the kitchen is safe.