food

How to Make Sauerkraut with A $5 Fermentation Station

How to Make Sauerkraut with A $5 Fermentation Station

This week, Matt and I got 3 big heads of red cabbage in our CSA share. So naturally, we were excited to make a batch of fresh Sauerkraut.

Making sauerkraut in the summer is great because the warm weather allows the kraut to ferment faster. It usually only takes a few days in this warm weather.

We've been making our own sauerkraut for years, ever since we saw this video:

Fermenting Foods

For me, sustainable living and self-sufficiency are very closely linked. Self sufficiency usually means growing at least a portion of your own food, which sometimes means preserving your harvest! From another perspective, buying real sauerkraut can be real expensive (and sometimes the sauerkraut from the store isn't even actually fermented, it's just cooked in vinegar). $8 for a pint of kraut is too much to spend on my habit. And since you know I wholeheartedly believe in DIY for a million reasons, I wanted to point out a cool DIY tool I found a while ago that I want to try out. It's a sauerkraut/pickle making jar system. It's called the "Picklemeister".

The Picklemeister comes in 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon sizes. It's basically a big glass jar with a seal and an airlock. You cut up your cabbage (for sauerkraut), add salt, a plastic bag of brine, and let the jar sit for 3 days. Then you have a gallon of sauerkraut!

Here's a video that I love about making sauerkraut (with a really tasty recipe at the end!) with Mark Frauenfelder. Check it out here. He swears by the Picklemeister.

Sprouting

I had an AWESOME day today (okay, technically yesterday because it's late) and before I go into great detail about all the great stuff I did and saw earlier (tomorrow's posts, so stay tuned!), I want to do a short post about the little thing I ended the day with. After an incredibly fulfilling and educational day visiting with sponsors and learning about options for green building materials and photovoltaic systems, I stopped by a health food/healthy lifestyle store on my way home that I'd never been to before. I went there specifically to pick up the Sprout-Ease Econo-Sprouter Toppers. These are a set of 3 grated  lids (in 3 different sized grates, and made of recycled plastic) that fit onto your standard mason jar. These nifty jar toppers allow you to easily sprout lentils, radish seeds, mung beans, and anything else you can think of to sprout! The set of 3 means you can have a constant supply of sprouts if you stagger them, and you can use different sized lids for different types of seeds or beans.

I've used these extensively before and they work great and make sprouting really easy. A few years ago my band was on tour for a long period of time, and our favorite road snack was sprouted lentils (which are super healthy and full of protein to fuel our rock n' rollin'). We would rinse them out every day and just keep them in the rear window of the tour-mobile.