"But it smells like my feet", was my son's verdict. For his sister, on the other hand, it was definitely love at first bite. Kids! It is true, what he says. Fermented foods in general have this funky taste and smell that is weirdly unexpected. It can be an acquired taste and over time, you learn to like it, even crave it...something to do with hungering for foods that our body needs, I am told.
I grew up eating plenty of yogurt and fermented grains but sauerkraut was not a part of my culture. Fact is, I hadn't even tasted it until very recently when I decided to make my very own. I have to say, I am hooked. I now have a continuous production line of shredded cabbage bubbling in jars on the kitchen counter to keep up with demand.
Perhaps what is most unexpected is how handy this sauerkraut can be on my lazy days. Yes, chefs have them too! Leftover rice or noodles stir-fried with peas and some sauerkraut make an effortless school lunch. Stuffed in sandwiches, rolled into wraps or rice paper, atop avocados or eggs, even as a vegetable side - the possibilities are truly endless. The best part? No guilt because sauerkraut is nutritious, an excellent, inexpensive source of healthy probiotic. Are you sold yet?
Raw Sauerkraut (Adapted from One Green Planet)
1 large cabbage, white or red, thinly shredded. Break out that food processor if you have one. Save the outer leaves for packing.
1 bunch scallions, sliced on the diagonal
4 red radishes, julienned
2 carrots, thinly julienned
4 cups water
1 knob of ginger
2 Tbsp sea salt
Clean glass jars
Place the prepared vegetables in a large wide bowl.
Whiz the ginger and salt with water in a high speed blender. Pour over the vegetables and mix.
Fill jars with the veggies until 3/4 full. Top with the brine and press down with the reserved outer leaves. Screw the caps on. Leave them at room temperature in your kitchen counter. Should be ready in 5-7 days.
Refrigerate and enjoy.