RED CABBAGE, BLUEBERRY AND APPLE SAUERKRAUT by Anya Kassoff
I grew up with home-pickling and fermenting as the norm. Food in the Soviet Union was not only scarce, but also highly seasonal, so if you didn’t take care to preserve some tomatoes or cucumbers for the winter, you wouldn’t be able to taste any until the next summer. My mom made sure to stock our cool basement with jars of pickles, tomatoes, and fruit preserves every summer, as did pretty much every woman around. Other common fermentation projects included kombucha (or the ‘tea mushroom’ as we call it) way before it was cool, kefir, and of course sauerkraut.
I can’t say that I’ve continued all these traditions. I do make my own kombucha, but I can’t motivate myself to do a big batch of pickles, and you can buy such good ones in the store anyways. Same goes for tomatoes, especially since California grown ones are available all year round, and will do if a big craving hits. Sauerkraut is a different story though, because it takes very little work, and the return is so good. I’ve fermented sauerkraut in jars and in big pots, inventing weighted contraptions out of any appropriately-sized object I could find, but what I’ve always dreamed about is a nice, clay fermenting crock
with custom weights that fit inside perfectly.
- 2 small-medium heads of red cabbage
- 2-3 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 green apples - peeled and sliced into 1-inch 'sticks'
- 12 oz blueberries
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (optional)
- Rinse your cabbages and remove the outer leaves. Save a few of the leaves and set them aside. Cut the cabbages in half and cut out the core. Cut each cabbage half into quarters and shred on a mandolin slicer or with a sharp knife.
- Put the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and mix in the salt, then massage it well until the cabbage starts to release juices. Let the cabbage sit in the bowl for about 30 minutes to release more juices. Mix in the apple slices, blueberries, and coriander with your hands.
- Pack everything tightly into your fermenting crock using your fist. Cover the surface with the reserved cabbage leaves - this will make sure that nothing will float to the top. Place the ceramic weights on top. At this time, all the contents of the crock, including the ceramic weights, should be completely submerged in juices. If that's not happening, let everything sit for a few more hours and see if the cabbage releases more juices to submerge. If there is still not enough liquid after a few hours, make brine with 1 cup filtered water and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Pour the brine into the crock, until the weights are just covered with the liquid. It's important to have everything submerged in liquid at all times to prevent any mold from forming.
- Pour brine or filtered water into the water channel and cover the crock with its lid. Let everything ferment for 1-2 weeks, tasting periodically, until the flavor is sour to your liking. Refill the water in the water channel as it evaporates. After a few days of fermenting, the brine should be nice and bubbly. If you have a cool basement, you can also start out the fermentation in a warmer room for the first week, and then move the crock to the basement to finish off the process (the basement should not be too cold!).
- Once your sauerkraut is done, pack it into clean glass jars, covered with brine, and keep it refrigerated. Save some of leftover brine to use as a starter in your next fermentation project, which will kick-start the process much quicker. You can also take little shots of the brine for a nice probiotic, booster. Have fun!
*This recipe originally appeared in Golubka Kitchen. The recipe and story in it's entirety can be found here.