Category Archives: cabbage

GRAND OPENING: SAUERKRAUT

POST #936
I opened the sauerkraut this afternoon – at 3-1/2 days.  The jar I made with probiotics was great, as usual, but I am not terribly crazy about the jar made with the kimchi juice.  It is okay, I mean, it isn’t off or anything, but I am not so sure I like the taste. It seems a little bitter to me. Perhaps it will grow on me (meantime, I can hope that the people at the meet-up do like it and eat it all up).  I’ve put what was left in the jar back on the board to ferment a little longer – that might help, too.  I was kind of surprised that, despite all the garlic and jalapeno I put in there, it doesn’t taste all that garlicky (at least not to me) nor does it seem overly spicy.

I put half of each jar into pint jars, identifiable by different lids, to take to the meet-up tonight.  I always hope the people will like what I have made.  This is my first time with this group, so it should be interesting.

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WOW! WHAT’S THAT SMELL? Joys of fermentation

POST #934
I just started my two sauerkraut batches last night, but when I came home tonight, there was a funny smell … heck! I know I cleaned the kitchen last night, and I know I threw out the trash this morning…… 

When I checked the sauerkraut, I found where the smell was coming from!  Aha! That kimchi juice is working its magic!  (Will the sauerkraut made with the kimchi juice have a kimchi essence to it? I’ll know on Tuesday night, when I open it.

The happy note is that both jars are working hard – the bowls they are sitting in were almost full of expelled water!  That is always the first and best sign that things are going according to plan (I am suddenly curious as to whether this is the sauerkraut juice people speak of.. If you know, please tell me)

MY LATEST FERMENT-ATHON IS ON!

POST #932
I have just put up my latest two jars of sauerkraut.  I don’t always tell you about my sauerkraut jars, simply because I always do them the same way, more or less.  This time, however, I have done two things differently, and one is a big experiment for me.

I’ll start with the big experiment:  I have always made my sauerkraut with probiotics powder, and it has always worked for me – the only failure I have ever had was the batch where I forgot to put in the probiotics.   I keep hearing about using sauerkraut juice or kimchi juice from previous batches, and I’m curious (I never end up with juice, really – so I wonder about that, too).  A few weeks ago, at the Union Square Greenmarket, I found a stall that was selling kimchi juice as a tonic.  I asked them how I would use it to start sauerkraut, and they suggested I use a couple of tablespoons to a jar of sauerkraut.  So… tonight, I put up one jar using only 2 T of the kimchi juice.

Different thing number two, which goes for both jars:  I am going to a fermented foods meet-up where we are supposed bring some garlicky fermented food.  Garlic goes in most things I make, so… what is garlicky? Do I put more?  I decided to add about 8 cloves of garlic for each of the two  heads of cabbage.  In addition, I sliced up about 3 fairly large jalapeno peppers and added them to the mix, simply because I have always liked my sauerkraut spicy, and spicier sounded like a good idea.

One interesting thing happened: when I went to open the probiotics capsule, I had a hard time with it, and then it slipped and fell into the water I was going to mix it into.  Since that was my last capsule, I could not afford to lose it, so I ended up swishing it around in the water – the gelatin capsule finally gave up the powder, but was still solid enough for me to remove it from the water. That’s good to know – I mean, I don’t plan to extract the powder that way, but, I won’t have to worry any more if I drop the cap into the water.

The two jars are sitting there in bowls on my stove shelf (I don’t use my stove, so I have a large cutting board covering the burners, and, when I am fermenting, half of that goes to the ferments).   Both jars have the “dome lids”, i.e., the two part lids, although the jar with the kimchi juice has a re-usable plastic disk for the dome lid.

My meet-up is on Wednesday, so that gives me 3 days to ferment.  I am confident that the probiotics mix will be ready on time, but I am not sure about the kimchi juice ferment. I’ll just have to test it on Tuesday night and see how it is.

CABBAGE CHIPS – first try

So, I made up two batches of cabbage chips – one, just plain, sort of based on a recipe I’d seen, and the other, based on the recipe, but with Thai curry paste.

The basic recipe I followed was from Thecreativecaveman.com, but I changed it:

WASABI CABBAGE Chips
1 savoy cabbage
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder

Tear cabbage leaves from stem, then tear them into pieces, and place in a large bowl.
Process remaining ingredients in food processor.
Add processed sauce to bowl and toss and “massage” until all cabbage leaves are liberally coated with sauce mix.
Spread cabbage leaves on teflex sheets over dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 10-15 hrs at 110 degrees

I used Thai curry paste instead of the wasabi/paprika/mustard powder, and I did not add salt, as I do not like salt much.
My first impression was that the taste is a lot like cooked cabbage, only with my chosen spices. What I did not like was the oiliness – if I make cabbage chips again, I will use a mix similar to what I use with kale chips, with no oil.
I guess the oiliness would appeal to people who really like that part of potato chips, but the chips do not come out crunchy like my kale chips do and I do not like having to wipe off my hands after every bite so that I can finish writing this review.  The only good thing about the oiliness was that, ultimately, I was not able to eat too much – the oiliness made chewing unpleasant for me (although the chips were initially crunchy, if I put more than one in my mouth at the same time, they bunched up and clumped up to an unpleasant chewing glob.  The oiliness also made my stomach decide it had had enough – is this an example of how fat makes you feel sated? Must file that one for further examination and thought)

I will make cabbage chips again, since I have some more cabbage, but I will probably just go back to a kale chip recipe and do that. I will probably add the Thai curry into one of the kale recipes I know and love, and see how that turns out, since that was the only part I really liked about these cabbage chips.

CABBAGE CHIPS? Well, sure! Why not? (Except I hadn’t thought of it)

I went to the food event at Lifethyme this evening.  Since I was already in Manhattan, and I had to see if I could get my antique Blackberry (I think she’s about 10 years old) fixed (at a strange building on 42nd St. that was like a maze of tiny, dingy one-room  offices), I decided to stay in town until the event started at 6:30. After I walked across 42nd St (wow! that place sure has changed since  when I moved here! No more XXX movie theaters, just lots of glitzy all-American restaurants, a couple of movie theaters, Madame Tussaud’s, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a Hello Kitty! store, and a couple of theaters for Broadway shows!), I caught a train down to the Village (Since I hadn’t been down to the Village in quite a while, I got off at the other end of the train from where you get off to go to Lifethyme, and took a walk up Sixth Avenue. Wow! The changes! ( I don’t get it – Greenwich Village is a very upscale neighborhood – heck! George Washington once lived there, and now movie stars live there! So, how come Sixth Ave., one of the main drags, is full of tattoo parlors?  Barnes and Noble has left. Even W. 8th St was unrecognizable — it used to be THE street to go to if you just HAD to find a certain shoe – I only saw 2 shoe stores there today! There was a Goodwill – I went in there, and, in comparison with my local Salvation Army, it was really upscale! I got a cute designer collapsible cane WITH a carrying case! for $8.00!)

So, anyway, I finally arrived at Lifethyme early, so I decided to tour the store (now they are selling young coconuts, although, 4 or 5 years ago, they refused to, since young coconuts cannot be guaranteed organic).  They don’t sell “prepared raw food” anymore — they just have a “salad bar” – oh so boring!  What did make this whole event worthwhile was the dehydrated cabbage leaf “chips” I saw in the food case.  They looked like whole cabbage leaves, and the ingredients were just cabbage and salt!

FAST FORWARD, when I came home, instead of doing what I need to be doing, I got on-line and saw that other people are using cabbage for chips, pretty much like you would use kale. Most recommend Savoy cabbage, but the cabbage chips I saw at Lifethyme were just plain old green cabbage.

I’m going to play around with this idea – it’s cheap any time of year!– and I will post my findings.  (Meanwhile, google raw cabbage chips or dehydrated cabbage chips if you are in a hurry for ideas)

SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: why other people don’t like raw sauerkraut and how you can

POST #899
SUCCESSFUL TASTY SAUERKRAUT: Why Other People Don’t Like Sauerkraut, and How You Can

Swayze Foster recently posted a “low-sodium” sauerkraut-related video, in which she talked mostly about how she hates sauerkraut.

I’m a fermenter, and I do like sauerkraut, and I have been lucky that everyone who has tasted my sauerkraut has liked it (I do get lucky like that – people who say they are don’t like something that I am pushing  generally tend to like it once they have tasted it). 

Swayze says she put her sauerkraut in a jar covered by leaves, and topped  by cheesecloth to ferment for three days. That is, by me, the first mistake – if you are going to make “short-ferment” vegetables of any sort, you need to 1) press the vegetables down under the liquid, and/or 2)cover the recipient with a tight lid.

I’ve tried several ways to weight the vegetables, all of which involved putting a cabbage leaf on top and putting a weight on that, and then putting the lid on.  Each time, I have ended up with a slimy cabbage leaf, and an iffy batch of sauerkraut.

The sauerkraut I make is low sodium (I use a maximum of 1 T sea salt to a large head of cabbage — 2 1-qt jars worth). The sea salt is already low sodium, and it helps to draw the liquid/juice from the cabbage.  I find that the kicker, or the trick, to making a successful, tasty raw sauerkraut is the addition of 1 – 2 capsules-worth (or 1 teaspoon) of probiotics to the mix  (you could mix it in by hand, but I worry that some might get stuck on my glove and not remain in the mix, or you could mix it into the water you add to top off the jar)  The salt works to ferment, but salt wants a while.  The probiotics go to work immediately, and practically ensure that your batch of sauerkraut will succeed (when I first started making sauerkraut, I was warned that my first batches might fail – the only failed batches I have ever had were the ones where I did not use the probiotics)

I usually let my sauerkraut batches go for 3-4 days before I open them.  With the tight cap on them, I need to open them over the sink, as the probiotics will have created a fizzy pressure, and the cabbage sometimes pops out of the top of the jar.  I like the sweetness of the 3-4 day ferment, but I have left it as long as 7 days with no ill results.  My batches rarely last more than 7 days in the refrigerator, as, when I have a batch of sauerkraut, it goes into almost everything I make up (wakame seaweed and vegetable salad, raw tuno, crackers – you name it!)  I often eat it on its own, as I love the flavor (I most frequently simply add jalapeno pepper slices, but often I add garlic, dill, cilantro, curry powder, or kimchi spices).

The way I figure it is, if you don’t like raw sauerkraut, most probably, you have gotten a bad batch, or you don’t like the flavorings.  A simple, plain raw sauerkraut made with just sea salt and probiotics will be tasty, sweet-ish,  to almost anyone, even children, and will be a good addition to just about anything you want to make up.

One last thing about sauerkraut, or any other fermented vegetable: If you don’t like to chew,  or if you don’t like crunchy, process your vegetables to a fine grate (not applesauce texture, but more like if you chopped for 20 mins) and be sure to include probiotics in your mix (many people tell me you can use sauerkraut juice from an older batch, but I never have that much juice left, and I don’t trust commercial batches.  For my first batches, I used a Zukay salad dressing for the probiotic, but, since Zukay salad dressings are not available in New York City as of this writing, and the company refuses to sell even crates of their product to individual buyers, I have never used that since).

VACATION TIME! I’m going down South to the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

POST #837
I’m going on vacation at the end of next week — yea!!!!!

I will be taking a 10-hr train trip down South, to meet up with my parents in Virginia Beach and then continue on to the Outer Banks in North Carolina (where I’ll be is just down the road from the road from where the Wright brothers made their historic first airplane flight — there’s a cool museum there.  It is also down the road from the largest sand dune in America.  Then, too, it is a few miles away from that wonderful house that starred in the Richard Gere movie, Nights in Rodanthe
which was based on the lovely book, Nights in Rodanthe,
by Nicholas Sparks.

I am planning to to pack a food bag with some fresh sauerkraut, and some of the other fermented vegetables I have in the fridge from last week’s bout (I hope I have some left when I get there, so I can show them off to my mom).  I want to make some kale chips because they are so good — again, I hope some will last so I can show them to my mom.  I’m ready – I have the red bell pepper, the cashews, the garlic, the chili powder, and, I think I have the onion powder (hope hope) — I do need to fetch some lemons.

Traveling raw requires a bit more pre-thinking than just packing.  I’m also thinking of making some crackers (haven’t done that in a really long time). Almond/corn/flax crackers are always my favorite, but I might make some sunflower seed crackers as well, from my first cracker recipe (gosh! I haven’t made up that recipe in years, but now it calls to me)    

Sounds like I’m going to be a bit busy this weekend.

Will I have space to pack clothes?

It’s all good! I’ll be on an island 25 miles out to sea. (It looks like there are no hurricanes to interrupt my idyllic vacation).  If it’s warm enough, Mom and I will spend some time on the beach.  If it isn’t, I’ll just spend some time on the beach by myself, looking for shells and stones and sea glass to make jewelry.  I’ll get up early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the ocean  from the veranda (yes, we have a veranda!) That is my favorite part of this vacation that I take every year with my parents.  At some point, Mom and I will probably go shopping at the outlet mall.  We might also work on a project for Mom’s church’s pre-Christmas bazaar (past projects have included making and decorating creche scenes and making sea glass jewelry with sea glass that my mother collected in Cuba).