Her Royal Majesty, Queen of Sauerkrauts

The Dead of Winter is the perfect time to finish my series on Sauerkraut. Find the first three posts of this series under the tag Loving Sauerkraut!

Purple Sauerkraut is a condiment fit for royalty!

Finally, we introduce the Queen of Sauerkraut: traditional German Kraut. You can make it with or without caraway seeds, and if you choose a purple cabbage (which I totally recommend) you get a regal purple condiment to add to your favorite meat and potatoes meal.

Traditional German Sauerkraut Recipe

  • 1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey

In a bowl, mix cabbage and with (optional) caraway seeds, sea salt, and whey. Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 ince below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately,m but it improves with age.

Recipe from Nourishing Traditions

Into every meal some sauerkraut should fall. It is a digestive aid and a few teaspoons is all you need to bring your favorite hearty winter meal up to cuisine fit for a king. I find traditional German sauerkraut to be perfect for meat and potatoes, beef stew, and any savory winter meal.

Sauerkraut completes many a hearty winter dish!

Now, I believe that even if you’re not Dutch or German, you can learn to enjoy sauerkraut with your meat and potatoes. My husband feels differently and gives me funny looks whenever I turn my potatoes pink with a spoonful of this pretty stuff. I’ll admit that I’m not always in the mood for the extra flavor (or the trouble of fetching a condiment out of the fridge when I’m the only one going to touch it), but it remains a simple, cheap way to boost the nutritional value of a meal. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

Don’t miss:

  • Cordito…Mexican sauerkraut to add authentic flavor to tacos and more!
  • Kimchi…I like to pair this Korean sauerkraut with chicken or rice dishes
  • Gingered Carrots…tangy and almost sweet, this one’s great to toss in salads!

Have you tried sauerkraut yet? I know some of you have and I’m sooo proud of you. Thanks for keeping me company on this weird and wonderful whole foods journey!

Kimchi {My Little Korean Friend} Sauerkraut Part 3

Remember my sauerkraut series? It got derailed when our desktop had another long, nearly terminal illness. All the pretty photos I’d taken to use in future posts were locked up in a computer that kept dying as soon as you turned it on. I let that keep me from continuing the story of how I’m including fermented veggies into our menu and even getting my kids to eat them…

And for that I’m sorry.

I hereby vow to get over my lust for ‘perfect’ and just give you this post, straight up.because home-made cultured condiments are such an easy and thrifty way to aid digestion and increase the nutrient content of your favorite dishes. Consider the alternative: buying expensive pills like Enzymedica Digest Gold, the supplement I had to use at every meal for years to aid my digestion. But now I’ve learned to add a bit of this or a spoonful of that to my plate, and you can, too.

I first met kimchi this past winter when I was on the GAPS diet. It was a great experience in fermented veggies as it seemed to fit very closely into the ‘salsa’ category for me. It’s colorful, spicy, and very versatile.

Kimchi (Korean Sauerkraut)

  • 1 head cabbage, Napa or regular, quartered and shredded
  • I bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 c. grated carrots
  • 1/2 c. dakon radishes, grated, optional
  • 1 T. freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 4 T whey

Mix all together in a large bowl, then transfer to glass jars, tamping down kraut till juices rise to the surface. Cap and leave on counter 3 days, then transfer to fridge. 

If your man is like mine, and enjoys spicy stuff, you may just entice him with kimchi. You can make it as hot as you like it; I chose very mild peppers for mine and let the radishes bring the small amount of heat I can tolerate.

I first used kimchi in GAPS soups – an otherwise simple broth, veggie, and meat puree was taken up a notch with the addition of a tablespoon of just the juice from a jar of kimchi. Later in the diet, I put the veggies themselves to the soup, adding a delightful bit of texture to my meal. One morning I even had it with my breakfast of steak, eggs, and avocado. I never thought I’d have sauerkraut with breakfast, but my mouth is actually watering as I write this. This is so weird.

Anyway, kimchi taught me another easy way to enjoy sauerkraut—a spoonful in any kind of soup just like–or even alongside–that dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, or handful of crushed crackers. Just make sure your soup has cooled to your tongue before you add it—if it will burn your tongue, it will effectively cook the goodness right out of your sauerkraut.

Have you tried any different kinds of sauerkraut yet? Do you have a favorite?

Check out the other posts in this series:
How to make Sauerkraut and eat it, too!
Cordito (Mexican Sauerkraut)
All posts in this series can be found with the tag LovingSauerkraut!

Gingered Carrots still ranks high on my list for its subtle flavor and ease of disguising it in favorite salads. I made up a batch here in Alabama last month, which shows you that even with a small kitchen and limited resources (I had to strain store-bought yogurt to get the whey I needed ‘cause I didn’t have raw milk) you can fit this into your lifestyle!

Cordito! {Sauerkraut Part 2}

I vote Cordito to be the easiest sauerkraut to add to your menu. It’s Mexican in origin, made with carrots, onions and cabbage and seasoned with oregano and red pepper. You just throw it on with the  salsa, sour cream, olives, and other toppings you’re layering in your taco, and then enjoy the subtle-yet-incredibly-authentic flavor it adds to every bite.

I still can’t believe I just basically wrote an ode to sauerkraut. But I’m not lyin’, peoples. This really is another painless experience in adding lacto fermented condiments into your plate.

Cordito Recipe

1 large cabbage, cored and shredded
1 c. grated carrots
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and very finely sliced
1 T. dried oregano
1/4-1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. sea salt
4 T. whey (if not available, use 1 additional T. salt)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer for 10 min. to release juices. (I don’t have either of those tools – I use the bottom of a quart jar!) Place in 2 quart sized, wide mouth mason jars and press down firmly until juices come to top of cabbage. The top of the cabbage mixture should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jars. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to fridge. (Recipe from Nourishing Traditions)

Here’s my favorite thing about Cordito – it blends in so well with the many other toppings on a taco or things you toss in a taco salad, that I’ve actually got my husband and kids to eat this one. When we have taco salad as a family, I’ve taken to tossing the lettuce, meat, cheese, and crushed chips in a bowl with most of the toppings, then let Jeremy add more hot salsa to his serving if he wants it. This means simpler serving for the kids, and lots less fuss for Mom. A few tablespoons Cordito are hardly noticed amongst spoon-fulls of sour cream and salsa, and down the hatch it goes. :)

I have another condiment I absolutely love for Mexican night—Cultured Refried Beans—but you’ll have to go to the book for that recipe. :)

Next…the sauerkraut I learned to love while on GAPSKimchi!
See all posts in my Loving Sauerkraut series here.

How to Make Sauerkraut {And Eat It, Too!} Part 1

This post was a long time coming, ’cause I thought, “Who am I to tell YOU how to make sauerkraut? I have only a 30% success rate!” Ahh, but on the third try, I got it. Not only that, I’ve succeeded in cultivating a taste for the stuff! So I’m finally ready to take the lid of this, er, fragrant subject. You ready? Ok, let’s go!

As I mention in this post, fermented condiments like sauerkraut are just another way to add enzymes and aid digestion of a meal. Notice I said ‘condiment’–that’s key to actually consuming this stuff. It’s not a side dish, peoples, so don’t feel guilty if you can only stand a small spoonful mixed into your meal–that’s exactly how it’s done.

Another key to actually enjoying sauerkraut is variety. There’s actually lots of different kinds of sauerkraut, and each goes pairs better with certain dishes, kinda like different wines. Above, left to right, we have

  1. Kimchi (Korean Sauerkraut)
  2. Cortido (Latin American Sauerkraut)
  3. Traditional Sauekraut with purple cabbage
  4.  Gingered Carrots

Having all this variety really has been the secret to me finally making fermented condiments a regular part of my diet. If I had to eat the same sauerkraut ever day, people, I’d revolt. In this series I’m gonna share four of my favorite recipes for sauerkraut, and the various dishes I enjoy them with.

First, we’ll talk about method. It’s true, I had to try cabbage sauerkraut 3 times before I got a good batch, and I’m not really sure what I did wrong, so I’m not an expert. But I wanna just tell you–cabbage and labor are cheap. If you fail, try again. It’s not that hard.

The basic sauerkraut method goes like this:

  1. chop or grate the veggies finely (though not so finely as to create pulp),
  2. mix in some salt
  3. pound it till it’s bruised and juicy
  4. pack tightly into a jar
  5. pour a little whey over the top
  6. cap and leave on counter for a few days
  7. Refrigerate and enjoy

How will you know if it turns out? This is the part I’m an expert about! It’ll mold, turn pink, smell putrid, or all of the above. Trust me–you’ll know. Throw it out and try again. No big deal.

Gingered Carrots

This is the first fermented veggie I tried, and it actually turned out the first time. I also really liked the flavor–as soon as I figured out it was meant to be a condiment (not used en mass in a carrot pineapple salad! Ahhg!)

Nourishing Traditions says, “These are the best introduction to lacto-fermented vegetables we know: the taste is delicious: and the sweetness of the carrots neutralizes the acidity that some people find disagreeable when they are first introduced to lacto-fermented vegetables. Ginger carrots go well with rich foods and spicy meats.”

  • 4 c. grated carrots
  • 1 T. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 4 T. whey (if not available, use an additional 1 Tablespoon salt)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and pound with a meat hammer or the bottom of a quart jar to release juices. Pack into a quart-sized, wide-mouthed mason jar and press down until juices cover carrots. The top of the carrots should be at least one inch below the top o the jar. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for 3 days before transferring to fridge.

I use Gingered carrots stirred into any stir fry, tossed into a salad with my favorite Maple Mustard Dressing (which is in the book), a few tablespoons stirred into Carrot-Raisin-Pinneapple Salad, and as a condiment when I make baked, stuffed chicken breasts. It adds lovely color to a plate, and really doesn’t taste like sauerkraut at all. :)

Remember to add fermented condiments after you’ve served the food onto the plate – cooking them destroys all the good reasons you’re eating them!

Next, the secret to authentic Mexican  flavor...Cordito!

Have you ever made any lacto fermented veggies? Tell me about it!