Sauerkraut and Fermented Vegetables: Part 1

This is a two part blog. In the first part, I will be discussing fermented vegetables; and, in the second, I”ll be running through the steps I take to ferment them.

I’ve been making Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables on a regular basis for over 2 years now. There’s many things I love about fermented vegetables in general, and Sauerkraut in particular. Of course, I adore the various health benefits from this probiotic filled delight, especially its Vitamin C content. As an Australian, I learned a fair bit about Captain Cook growing up, and I remember being taught how he kept his sailors’ scurvy free by carrying lots of citrus fruit (I can’t remember if it was lemons or limes he took). I have subsequently learnt that he also took barrels of Sauerkraut on another voyage.

Sauerkraut and all fermented vegetables are also very tasty, and are delicious with a variety of foods. Personally, I usually add it or whatever other fermented vegetable I currently have in the fridge to my daily salad. Cabbage and other vegetables when combined with salt create lactic acid, so, I find that way I rarely have to add anything else acidic like wine vinegar or lemon juice to my olive oil dressing. I just simply pour the required olive oil straight onto whatever vegetables I’ve put in my salad, then toss.

I’ve made many different types of fermented vegetables, including carrot, eggplant and zucchini, plus many more. Over time I’ve learnt to correctly judge the amount of salt to add, and the length of time to leave various vegetables. Of all the ones I’ve fermented, cabbage can be left for the longest, and consequently is unlikely to go bad if left too long. I went overseas last year, and made a batch before I left. When I got back I didn’t feel like decanting it, so I ended up leaving if for months. I assumed it had gone bad, but put off throwing it out. Months later I finally got around to doing so, but decided to taste it, and it was absolutely fine. Other vegetables are a lot less forgiving, and some, like beetroot haven’t been a roaring success, even when combined with cabbage. So, now my rule is, if in doubt, leave for a few days, then start testing the fermented vegetable to see if it is ready to eat every day until it reaches a satisfactory degree of sourness.
Please stay turned for the follow up blog on how to ferment Sauerkraut.



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