Dearest Matt brought a friendly cold home with him a few days ago, and it decided to get buddy buddy with the entire family! Yes, even the cat. Poor Taco's had a serious case of the sneezles along with a runny nose and eyes, which has thankfully mostly cleared up today. Matt's been insisting he is not sick, despite having an endlessly running nose, sore throat, sleeping all the time, and generally looking like he was run over by an ox cart! For my own part at least, so far it's been only some coughing, a stopped up nose, and feeling pretty tuckered all the time. I hope it stays that way!
I got in trouble with my last post- my husband finished reading it, turned to me and said indignantly "You're not going to post about the sauerkraut??" I promised that I was saving that for next time, and here we are! But I'll start at the beginning.
The last few months I've had a rash of requests for Sausage and Sauerkraut for dinner. I definitely didn't mind- usually I get asked for Chicken Rice, Matt's favorite, and compared with cooking that, Sausage and Sauerkraut is a breeze to get ready. Dice up a few peeled potatoes, roast those bad boys up, dump a can of sauerkraut into a pot, cut up some sausage to throw in, heat for a while, and eat. Besides the slicing, dicing, and turning the taters once or twice, it mostly cooks itself, which is always a pleasure! Why yes, I'd love to go sit and read while dinner takes care of itself for a while!
I'd packaged up the leftovers, and was busy cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes, when Matt comes in, looks into the still unwashed dinner pot and exclaims in horror "There's still sauerkraut in here!" When I serve everything up, I always give us fairly even portions of sausage and sauerkraut, so you get a little on each bite. There's usually a bit more sauerkraut left then sausage when I put the leftover up, and it's a bit of a pain to fish the last bits out of the juice, so I usually end up tossing a few bites. Who wants to eat more sauerkraut then sausage anyway?
Well, apparently my husband- he went and got a fork and started fishing sauerkraut out of the pot while I explained the uneveness of the ratio and I didn't want there to be extra sauerkraut in the container and such. "But... the sauerkraut is my favorite part!" He exclaims. 0.0; I'd always thought he liked the sausage and the sauerkraut was the somewhat icky vegetable he'd gotten used to eating alongside it as I always paired the two together. I mean, the dude doesn't like corn at all, and refuses to eat plain cooked carrots because they're 'too sweet'- he likes fermented cabbage??
It turns out he likes is a LOT, because the next day we went out to buy the things to make our own sauerkraut!
It turns out sauerkraut is surprisingly easy to make actually. It's the recommended startign project for getting into fermentation, although besides beer, I'm not exactly sure what else there is to ferment... You pretty much just take cabbage, shred it up, crush it by hand with a few tablespoons of salt until it starts to get juicy, add whatever seasonings you want, and put it in some sort of semi-covered container and weight it down. The cabbage makes it own brine as the salt draws out the juices and you just sort of... leave it there. Unrefrigerated.
The Sauerkraut after a week- we changed the weight to a bag of water to keep the cabbage down in the brine, and placed the container over the top of a mixing bowl lid as some of the brine escaped...
It's kind of gross actually. I mean, I like sauerkraut, I know that the stuff I've bought at the store is made the exact same way, but leaving things out on the counter just flies against all the kitchen safety procedures I've been taught over the years. Perhaps that's why these traditional kitchen practices are so less common nowadays. Matt tried a bit last Saturday, but I couldn't make myself eat any yet- in any case, it wasn't fermented enough yet and was still rather cabbagey apparently. Maybe when it smells more like sauerkraut and less like wet cabbage I'll be able to try some!
Two more batches- the one with the orangey color has carrot in it as well for sweetness. The other is just cabbage and salt, with no seasonings, more like what you get from a can.
I'm still pretty excited for it though. I think it'll be good, at least eventually! Matt was excited when I pulled out a package of sausage to thaw from the freezer last night. "Oooh! Can we use the new sauerkraut with it?"
Of course, dear. :)