Fermentation is a type of preserving I have never done and have wanted to do for a long time. Traditional dill pickles, saurkraut and kosher preserves are staples of this art.
The premise is basic: let a vegetable (often pickles or cabbage) ferment in a brine of their own creation. The fermentation is visible – bubbles rise through the brining liquid. When the bubbles stop (up to 6 weeks), fermentation is done.
5 pounds of cabbage (just under 2 heads) were sliced thin before being mixed with 3 tablespoons of pickling salt. I stuffed jars with the cabbage (it is about 3 liters or 12 cups) and pressed it hard with a spoon. This causes liquid to be released from the leaves and submerges all the crunchy goodness in a natural broth. You can add a salted brine (4 cups water to 1.5 tablespoons of salt) if the liquid is sparse. The key is to ensure everything is covered with liquid. Some people find they have to weigh down the top layer to ensure nothing floats – we packed our jars tightly and things seem to be under control.
After 6 weeks we can store it in the fridge for several months or go through a separate jarring process (we’ll update the blog when we do this step). You have to bring the liquid to a boil, cook the kraut a small amount and jar like normal. There are lots of great recipes out there.
This is a super-fast and easy preserve. I am also excited (beyond belief) to try the actual results. We’re going to try several batches of fermentation before late summer when we will get into doing pickles in this style.