Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Latin American Curtido Kraut
Recipe By Cynthia Lair

Cynthia Lair taught us how to make our own fermented foods.

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Making Your Own Fermented Foods
Last week I wrote about the 5 Changes I Made Immediately After Attending the 2015 Health and Nutrition Conference.  The first one was to eat and make more fermented foods as it is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Hands down, the most fun and entertaining presentation at the conference was by Cynthia Lair. I had never made sauerkraut before and, quite honestly, I was intimidated by the entire process. I pictured big ceramic crocks filled with smelly cabbage being pressed down with plates weighed down with rocks. But Cynthia's process was so easy I couldn't wait to try it.

Cynthia Lair
Watch her web cooking show,

Latin American Curtido Kraut
by Cynthia Lair
Raw Vegan, Gluten and Dairy Free
Makes 4 to 6 cups

Requires 2 wide-mouth quart jars and 2 (1/2-pint) jars with lids.

1 (2-lb) head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced*
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium white onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 large or 2 medium carrots, grated on large holes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (optional)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, chopped finely

Note: The weight of the cabbage will determine the amount of salt. Cynthia recommends using 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for every 1/2 pound of whole cabbage. I love this recipe because it uses much less salt than other sauerkraut recipes.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Set aside to "weep" while preparing the other vegetables. Do not add the other vegetables yet.

The salt will cause the cabbage to "weep" or release water.

With clean hands, begin massaging the cabbage with a firm grip. Continue for at least 3 minutes, working your way through all the cabbage. You will notice that the cabbage will already begin wilting and shrinking.

Cabbage after massage.

Now add the onion, carrot, and oregano and massage the vegetables together until they are well combined. Mix in the jalape├▒o with a large spoon.

Cabbage with other ingredients mixed in.

Divide the mixed vegetables among two wide-mouth quart jars, adding a little at a time and pushing down hard after each handful of vegetables goes in. You can push down with your fist or something like the pushing device of your Vitamix (that's what I used.) You can't hurt the vegetables with the forceful pressing. It will help them release water.

Push down the veggies hard.
Keep pushing down until the vegetables are submerged in their own brine. Add additional compression to the top of the mixture by placing a sealed 1/2-pint jar filled with water on top of the vegetables. I actually used 33 3/4 ounce Fido Jars as the fermentation vessel and sealed pint jars for additional compression. These Fido Jars have wider mouths to accommodate pint jars and they are great for storing the kraut when it's done.

Filled and capped jars add extra compression to the kraut.

Cover with a clean dish cloth to keep out the dust but allow in air. Keep the jars visible so that you visit them a few times the first day. It's important to keep the vegetables submerged in their brine so push down if they are not. Within 8 to 10 hours, there should be enough extracted liquid in the container to cover the veggies completely. After that, they'll only need a daily greeting and push.

Cover with a clean dish towel and visit each day.

Let the kraut percolate on the counter for at least 7 days to two weeks or more, depending on how tangy you like your kraut. When done, seal in a Fido jar and place in the refrigerator.
I placed my jars in shallow bowls since they will keep fermenting.

For those of you who think sauerkraut is only for topping hotdogs, you are in for a treat. I have been topping just about everything I eat with this wonderful Curtido. I especially like it on top of Beans and Greens.

Curtido Kraut on top of beans and kale.

A BIG thank you to Cynthia Lair for allowing me to share her wonderful recipe with you. Don't forget to check out her website and cookus*interruptus web cooking show.

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