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Posts Tagged ‘pickling’

sauerkraut_5172

 

Makes 1 quart or as much as you like

Fermented foods seem to be headed into becoming the next big culinary trend.  This is truly a case of everything old is new again as fermenting was one of the earliest methods of food preservation.  For years, once fall comes I have made sauerkraut as one of Steve’s favorite cold weather dishes is pork roast braised in white wine with sauerkraut, onions, and potatoes.  Sauerkraut is easy to make and keeps almost forever.  So, if you haven’t experienced fermenting in your kitchen here is an easy recipe to get started.  Later, I’ll give you the recipe for the braised pork.
You can use the sauerkraut at any point in the fermentation process.  Early in the process it will be more cabbage-like and crunchy; later it will be softer and have a stronger, more sour flavored. To add different flavor, add caraway, dill, or mustard seeds or chopped fresh dill to the fermenting mix.
Cabbage ferments very quickly at room temperature (about 70°F) and is usually ready to eat in a week.  You can also refrigerate it from the start, but fermentation will occur very slowly; however, the end result will be crisper.  If kept at a temperature over 80°F, it will quickly turn dark brown and spoil.  If this occurs, discard the sauerkraut and start again.

2 ½ pounds cabbage (preferably organic), cored with any wilted or damaged outer leaves removed
3 teaspoons sea salt

Shred the cabbage into coarse threads using either a food processor fitted with the shredding blade, the large holes of a hand-held box grater, a mandoline, or by hand with a large, sharp chef’s knife.  To ensure correct fermentation I recommend that you weigh the cabbage after you have removed the core and any wilted or damaged outer leaves.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the top.  Using your hands, begin massaging the salt into the cabbage working until the cabbage exudes a substantial amount of liquid.  The time required will be dependent upon the freshness of the cabbage and the strength of your massage and can range from a couple of minutes to 30 or so.
Pack the cabbage and the liquid into a clean, sterilized container, such as a 1-quart glass canning jar with a clean, unused lid.  Using your fingertips, a smaller jar or glass that will fit down into the larger jar, or a potato masher, press down as firmly as you can to allow the liquid to rise up and cover the shredded cabbage.  You should leave about 1- to 2-inches of space between the cabbage and the top of the jar to give the cabbage space to expand as it ferments.  If the mixture has not created enough liquid to cover add enough cool distilled water to completely cover.
Place a bit of cool water into a small resealable plastic bag, pushing to eliminate all air.  You need just enough water to create a weight to keep the cabbage under the liquid.  Seal the bag and place it on top of the cabbage, pushing down to insure that the water-bag is serving as a weight.  Place the lid on the container and seal tightly.
Set aside in a cool, dark spot for 5 days.  Check the fermentation process daily to make sure that the cabbage has remained covered with liquid.  If not, add distilled water to cover.
After 2 days, begin tasting the sauerkraut.   Remove the water-bag and set it aside.  Remove and discard any scum or mold that has formed, noting that it is not harmful, just unappetizing.   Using a clean fork, poke around in the jar and pull out a small taste.  This allows you to follow the fermentation process and determine when the cabbage has reached the point that is most desirable to your taste.  Just be sure to push the sauerkraut back down into the liquid, place the water-bag on top to press it down, tightly seal, and set aside as before.
Depending upon the temperature in its resting place, after one week the sauerkraut should be a bit bubbly and have a tart, sour aroma.  Whenever the sauerkraut has reached the flavor and texture you desire, transfer the jar to the refrigerator to impede the fermentation process.  The kraut will continue to ferment, but at a much slower pace.

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Sanditas

 

We came upon these beautiful tiny watermelon-looking things called sanditas at the Union Square Greenmarket.  I had never seen them before, but my culinarian son, Mickey, said “oh, yes, I’ve had them at Gramercy Tavern”.  Who knew???  Turns out sanditas are also known as sour Mexican gherkins, cucamelon, or, less-appetizingly, mouse melon and are a favorite Mexican vegetable.  When I bought mine, the vendor said “don’t pickle them, eat them”, so, of course, I had to pickle them.  Once I tasted the little guys I was sure that they would work best pickled to serve with patés or on meze platters.  I did leave a few to slice in salad, but the remainder went into the following recipe.  This recipe can also be used with any baby vegetable or pearl onions.

4 cups sanditas
¼ cup salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 green hot chile, cut, crosswise, into rounds

Place sanditas in a glass or ceramic bowl. Sprinkle in salt and add cold water to cover. Let stand in a cool place for 12 hours. Drain off salt water and rinse in colander under cold running water. Drain and dry.
Bring the vinegar, orange juice, and sugar to a boil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the vinegar mixture is cooking, pack the sanditas, ginger, and chile into hot sterilized jars. Pour the hot pickling syrup over the top, leaving ¼-inch head­space.
If you are going to refrigerate the pickles, cap the jars and turn upside-down on a wire rack and let stand until cool before refrigerating.  Or, to preserve for a long period of time, place the filled jars into a canning pot fitted with a rack with cold water to cover and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from the boiling water and cool as directed for refrigerated pickles.

 

sanditas pickles OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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