06 December 2011

It's All in the Kraut. UPDATED

First let me say that this is my first post completely written from my phone.
My friend Nicole is in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and she and another friend split a weekly share of vegetables. Sometimes this means that as her friend we have a lot of veggies to help her eat. If you have been following me on facebook you'll know that we tried P. Allen Smith's Aunt Genny's recipes for sauerkraut.  It would be the picture with just the jars.
It should be stated that I don't eat sauerkraut so Cory and Nicole thought that it was overcooked and too sweet (sidebar: Nicole has her fake sugar labeled as real sugar and she has no real sugar in her house so we used brown sugar).
Nicole was again given two heads of cabbage so we are trying this sauerkraut thing again except this time we are doing it the old fashioned way and fermenting before we jar. The picture is with the bowl and the brick.  This was on it's first day. We have at least 3 more to go. Check back and I'll keep you posted on the Kraut progress.

Day one

Our first attempt
Update:  12-9-11
All I want for Christmas is an air freshener.
I think it is a fine line between rotting and fermenting as my back bedroom smells of cabbage and muck.  I've been skimming as the directions say and thus far, the process doesn't make me want to start eating it.  I find it interesting that most people really don't know what goes into the food that they love.  We are creatures of convenience.  For instance, if I actually had to kill my meat, I'd be a vegetarian.  I just don't think I could do it.  Thinking about killing my meat does make me eat less meat.  Yesterday, I had a Chick-fil-a sandwich which was my first fast food in quite sometime.  I've been consciously trying to put more vegetables in my life and for some reason yesterday my body was craving a Chick-fil-a sandwich with extra pickles. My body must be crazy because not more than 30 minutes after eating it I felt awful (physically---not emotionally guilty for eating meat kind of way).  Back to the Kraut....I'm out of town this weekend and I can only imagine what I will be coming back to but do not fear, I'll post it.

Update: 12-30-11
The Kraut resides on the back porch since I got back from Key West.  I walked in the door and was bold over by the smell of sweaty gym socks baking in mayonnaise on a late August afternoon.  It has taken two days, three candles,  and many, many simmers of rosemary (not to mention the Febreeze because I fear my clothes smell foul) to bring my house back to it's normal odor.  No one was around to "skim the scum" during the holiday so the mold is something out of a movie that I swear could take over the world.  I'll post a picture of it tomorrow....it's bad people--real bad.

Take aways from this experience:
  • It is good to see some of my friends take an interest in food preservation.  I think that if we all did it more we would each care about the work that goes into food preparation. Perhaps, the friends and I should stick to the simple things like jams.
  • I need more research on when mold turns to fermentation.  If you have any idea when this happens, please let me know.  My Betty Crocker Guide was no help.  Let's face it, friends don't like it when you accidentally poison them.
  • I prefer Aunt Ginny's recipe.  It is scum free.  Scum is still gross and even if they changed the name to "precious potent lollipops" I still wouldn't want to do it.

There is no way this screams, "Eat me! I am a German delicacy"
Updated 1-18-12
So last Saturday was intersting for the kraut.  I wanted to reclaim my favorite white mixing bowl so the kraut had to go.  I finished reading "The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Food, Farming and Love" by  Krstin Kimball and was inspired to dig a hole if I could not have a farm of my own.  The kraut needed to go and my little 5x5 garden could use some added mold (anyway, I didn't want Liddy to eat it and get sick).  When I went to dump the kraut in to my two foot hole, I noticed that it didn't look so bad.  It didn't smell so bad and it didn't burn my tongue when I touched it.  All I could hear was Nicole's voice in my head telling me that it would be wasteful to bury the kraut so I scooped some of the kraut back out and proceeded to was it off and jar it.  I've had a taste. It's ok.  Nicole thinks it is a bit salty.  I did not can it because I pulled it out of the dirt.  Still, this is not on my list of things I ever want to do again.  That was a lot of work for one jar of kraut.