Category Archives: LEAFY VEGETABLE 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).

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WHAT WE GOT & WHAT I AM DOING WITH IT

Here’s the breakdown from Thursday’s share

Kohlrabi – 1 pc    actually we got several pieces
Fennel – 1 pce       I traded for a big kohlrabi
Carrots – 1 bun     the carrots were kind of small. I put them through the juicer
Cilantro – 1 bun    a big bunch
Escarole – 1 hd      this was a large head
Scallions – 1 bun    traded for more cilantro
Arugula – 1 bag       we got choggia beets
Green Romaine Lettuce – 1 hd    traded for more beets
Green Boston Lettuce – 1 hd

I put the carrots through the juicer and got a small juice glass of carrot juice. I froze the pulp for use in something later.

I’ve made a couple of different versions of raw ravioli, using the large kohlrabi.  I cut it in half and sliced it with my thin slicer (looks like a vegetable peeler, but it’s very wide).  I put my cashew-kale pate and cilantro in the raviolis, and I also made the “chicken pate” recipe from Ani Phyo’s first book and put it in the wraps with some cilantro.

I used the escarole in some wraps with the cashew-kale pate, onion, tomato, cilantro, and lentil sprouts.   I also made a soup with lentil sprouts by dehydrating chopped up  escarole leaves to tender, then adding garlic, olive oil, a little sea salt (!) and black pepper, cilantro, and some red pepper flakes, and dehydrating for a few hours until it was warm.

Well, the lettuce has gone into salads, duh. I also threw some of it, along with some escarole, and an apple, into the blender for a smoothie.  Yuck.  I drank it anyway.  It’s good for me, right?

The beets, you ask?  My beet salad (beets into the food processor along with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, onions, and garlic – with some cilantro!).  I also made a “slaw” with some kohlrabi, beets, apple cider vinegar, onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic,  and – yes! cilantro! — I put the kohlrabi in the food processor first, and ground it to almost apple sauce consistency, removed it, then put the beets and everything else in, then tossed all in a bowl — the idea was to have white color, but the beets in colored the kohlrabi anyway

My room-mate and I are tentatively back on a two-day meal share plan, so I am planning some fancy kohlrabi raviolo (not sure what will go in them yet), with a sauce of some sort – likely sun-dried tomatoes with something;  a lettuce, escarole, seaweed salad with lentil or sunflower sprouts and a vinaigrette of some sort. I might make the escarole soup again, as well – I liked it, and I will have enough time on Wednesday to do all of the dehydrating.

I’m glad to be back to a one day a week meal share because it gives me a chance to use up stuff I won’t eat all of by myself (I mean, I have been eating all of my share because I have no money to buy other food, but it sure would be nice to have a helping hand, and my room-mate loves salads.)

Of course, we do expect the appearance of sauerkraut somewhere in all of this.  I still have 1/2 qt jalapeno sauerkraut.  I’ll be making more sauerkraut by week end.

6/21/12 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get

POST #754

This is what they say we will get tomorrow:

Kohlrabi – 1 piece
Fennel – 1 piece
Carrots – 1 bunch
Cilantro – 1 bunch
Escarole – 1 head
Scallions – 1 bunch
Arugula – 1 bag
Green Romaine Lettuce – 1 head
Green Boston Lettuce – 1 head

Most people cook kohlrabi, but I slice it thin on a mandolin, and use it as a wrapper for raw vegan ravioli.  Some folks slice it thin, salt it, and then eat it like that. You can also slice it thin and make matchsticks of it, and throw it in salads. 

I chop up fennel and put it in whatever I am making. It gives a kind of licorice flavor to a salad.

Everything else will go to salad (you know me – not going to happen that often).  Since I’m getting so much salad-y kind of stuff, I expect I will again be experimenting with green smoothies (hear, here, I hate green smoothies, but I can buy some bananas and some apples and experiment with adding those to lettuce drinks.  I am committed to using all of these vegetables (especially since I am way broke, so, once again, this is all the fresh food I have — I have some canned things and dried things in the pantry, left over from last year)

If you are like me, do not try to put arugula in your smoothie (it tastes like dirty feet — okay, like dirty feet smell — I’ve never actually tasted it because the smell was so off-putting)    Arugula does tastes nice in salads, and it is also tasty mixed into sprouted quinoa, with other vegetables.


10/28/10 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get and what I think I will make

Here’s what they say we will get:

Arugula…1/4 lb.
Golden Beets…..1 bun.
Daikon Radish….2 pcs
Sweet Potatoes….3.5 – 4 lbs
Green Cabbage…1 hd
Toscano Kale…..1 bun.
Guy Lon (Chinese Broccoli)… 1 bun.
Leeks….2 – 3 pcs
Mixed Red and Golden Delicious Apples

I love golden beets – mainly because they don’t stain your hands.  One of my students has reported that she added lemon juice and ginger to her grated beets – that sounds like a good thing to try out.

Toscano kale is also called lacinato kale and dinosaur kale.  I wonder why it has that many names.  I find it funny.  Regardless, I think I will make some more kale chips .  The chili/cheddar-cheezy ones I made a few weeks ago were really yummy, and the “smoked jalapeno” cheezy ones I made were very nice and spicy.

It’s time to make Amazing Sweet Potatoes again.  Yumm!

I’ll be making sauerkraut this week, of course.  What else to do with cabbage?  Perhaps I’ll make a little coleslaw, as well. We’ll see.

Daikon Cheeze Bites!  I’ll use my usual cheddar cheeze instead of the fancy one I originally posted – the usual one has fewer ingredients, so is cheaper and easier, and I like it better.

NEW TECHNIQUE FOR GREEN LEAF WRAPS

I have forgotten what green leaf Raw Chef Dan used in his wraps, but I have used his technique successfully with romaine lettuce, to make wraps I can deal with.

What did Dan show us?  He took a coffee mug and rolled it on the leaf to crush it.  Then he peeled the leaf sides from the tough central stem.

I used this technique to make some delicious wraps with a nut/seed pate and a smidgen of sauerkraut for a party I went to last week.  I am happy to say that there were no leftovers (although I could have used some for the next day’s lunch!)  The good thing here, for me, is that I am now more romaine-friendly.

6/17/10 CSA SHARE: What we got

This is what we got.

  • Toscano Kale 1 bunch
  • Red Beets
  • Red Boston Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Baby Arugula I traded for more kale – yumm!
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Baby Spinach

I made some marinated greens with 1 bunch of the kale.  Yesterday I made a green drink with 1/2 of the lettuce, 1 small beet, an apple, and 2 tomatoes.  It wasn’t so bad, but I wouldn’t use the apple again in that mix– maybe another tomato would work.  I plan to make a cheeze with the garlic scapes, some cashews, and some jalapeno, so I can make raviolis with the kohlrabi.  I’ll figure out what to do with the rest shortly — I need food to carry to work next week.  I would like to make some kale chips at some point.



Grapefruit/Cilantro/Pineapple/Cucumber Smoothie from Sarma Mengalis

Here is a “hearsay” smoothie — someone on one of the raw food forums (sorry, I don’t remember which one) said that that Sarma Mengalis had posted this smoothie on her site OneLuckyDuck (but, in my impatient searching, I could not find it, and I realized I had forgotten where I had seen the reference)


GRAPEFRUIT/CILANTRO/PINEAPPLE/CUCUMBER  SMOOTHIE

-about a half a bunch of cilantro
-half a cucumber
-some pineapple
-a red grapefruit
-pinch of sea salt
-agave nector to taste
-vanilla extract
-a squeeze of lime

Sounds delicious. I have most of the ingredients – will march off to get the rest tomorrow, and let you know…………