I have been taking an amazing class once a month on Tuesday nights about local food, sustainability, and how that all works into our school systems. One of the highlights of the class has been cooking an entirely local meal each class. In our last class we made our meal, but then we also made saurkraut.
Now I have never made or even had saurkraut before that night (my German grandmother would be so disappointed...), but for some reason I had it in my mind that vinegar was involved, that it was a pickling process. Turns out the only ingredients are cabbage and sea salt. We chopped a head of cabbage up into small pieces, added a couple tablespoons of sea salt and then pounded the cabbage until we could no longer feel our arms (roughly 10 minutes), then packed it into canning jars, set them on our countertops and waited for 3 days. Friday night I took it off the countertop and plopped it in the fridge (room temperature fermented foods just don't do anything for me it turns out...), and there it has sat.
I have to admit it's a little bit scary. Kind of the feeling I had the first time I made yogurt. I'm thinking, I just spent days growing bacteria...to eat...what if I did it wrong? What if the wrong bacteria grew? What if I make myself sick? Oh boy. I'm sure it's fine, really, I'm sure it is. However, our instructor told us that saurkraut can be kept for years in the fridge and that it gets better with age. In fact, we tried some kim chi from her fridge that had sat for over a year and it was pretty good...So, this week I am going to be working up the nerve to taste my saurkraut, wish me luck! :)