July 16, 2010
I got a new Harsch crock a while back, and I finally got around to using it yesterday.
My husband is going to be starting a new gut healing diet soon, and lactofermented vegetables are part of the program.
I’ve been making kraut for a few years, but this is the first time using my fancy new crock. So, into the recipe this time around (everything organic):
a bit of juice from my friend amy’s kraut (sort of an inoculant- but it’s not really needed)
celtic sea salt
So, the process is that you shred or thinly slice all the vegetables. Add salt until it’s relatively salty. You can add whey (from drained plain yogurt) or a bit of juice from a previous batch of kraut. This isn’t necessary, though. The salt will preserve the veggies until they are fermented- as long as they stay submerged in the brine. Pound the veggies with a meat tenderizing hammer, or just work them with your hands until they begin to release their juices.
Then, weigh the veggies down so that they stay beneath the brine. Up to this point, I’ve used a very clean glass jar filled with water as a weight. The Harsch crock comes with weighing stones- so, so convenient.
Then, you wait while it ferments (maybe a month). I’ve fermented in about a week before, but the Harsch takes a little longer- not sure why. It bubbles away. So very fun to witness. Food chemistry. When the veggies are done, you have lovely preserved veggies that are pleasantly sour and loaded with probiotics. And very nutritious. Here are some pictures:
This picture doesn’t show the lid. After you have the crock loaded, you put the lid on, and then fill the lip with water. It lets the carbon dioxide out as it ferments, but no air can get in.
After all the veggies are shredded, you add salt and pound with a mallet to get the veggies to start releasing their juices.
Above you can see the loaded and weighted crock. There wasn’t quite enough juice, so I added some boiled salt water to bring the brine level up.
A caveat with fermenting- everything has to be very, very clean. You’re encouraging bacteria to grow- and you want to make sure that it’s the right bacteria. So, I always wash all of my fermenting equipment with hot, soapy water as soon as I’m done with it- and again right before I use it. You can’t be too careful. The other fermenting rule: If in doubt, throw it out.
Now, I’m just waiting for the bubbling to begin.