Chez moi, at Audities’ House of Cards, when I’m not taking photos, or designing greeting cards, I tend to dabble in experiments with fermented foods.
To date, I’ve mastered kombucha quite well, and drink it regularly. I’ve also successfully fermented beets, made beet kvass, and most recently, produced some delicious white cabbage sauerkraut. So now, I am on to a new venture: red cabbage sauerkraut.
For your enjoyment, I’ve documented the process from two days ago.
I added about four healthy teaspoons of coarse gray sea salt to about two and a half pounds of coarsely shredded red cabbage, and blended it together with my hands. The salt made the cabbage glisten with moisture almost immediately.
Then I pushed the mixture into a large (1.75 litres) glass jar. You can see it will not all fit in. To achieve this, I had to use my wooden mallet and force it in.
In about 15 minutes, this was the result. The mass was reduced to about half the space, and the liquid had increased significantly to rise above it.
I kept pressing and pressing, and working my arms to push down, down, down the sides and then into the middle. It’s always incredible to see the amount of juice that comes out. I found it easier if I sat on a chair, keeping the jar below my waist between my knees. My objective was to release enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage layer by at least half an inch. This can take 45 minutes to an hour. The cabbage must stay immersed in the juices during the fermentation time, so after I finished that, I needed a blocker plus a weight to hold the blocker in place.
Because I am a practical, economical and resourceful woman, I made my own stopper from the lid of a Coaticook plastic ice cream tub. I cut and trimmed until I got the shape and size of the widest part of the inside of the jar. (No geometry was required to calculate the diameter, circumference or radii. I just winged it with trial and error.)
Then, after I cleaned down the sides of the jar with my fingers, I twisted and forced this plastic lid inside, squeezing it against the walls of the jar and down against the cabbage, forcing the liquid to seep above the barricade.
The goal is to keep it there long enough for lactic acid fermentation to take place. The oxygen should not reach the cabbage. I solved that with a heavy Hungaria bubbly bottle, filled with water and put inside a zip-lock bag for cleanliness. It should be parked in a not-too-warm place so that it will ferment slowly.
The white cabbage sauerkraut was fermented to my taste in nine days. We’ll see how long this one takes before I can start to eat it.