Well, it's officially summer. So to celebrate, we had our first cook out of the year. It was so much fun to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen a while.
One of the many reasons I love summer is because it is the perfect time to deftly lead newbies into the magical and addictive world of fermented foods, salsas, sodas, margaritas and krauts of all kinds.
We served up a slew of grass-fed beef and liver burgers dressed in a beautiful color pop of purple garlic sauerkraut.
This is my favorite kraut to pair with beef or lamb. It is so delicious! Plus, you make any plate an attention grabber with the addition of its vibrant color. Successfully introducing people to fermented foods is a bit like asking a stranger to dance. A little ‘pretty' can go a long way toward getting your way.
Fermented food is good for your immune system
Do you want to bolster your immune system? No, I am not a doctor. But I have made hundreds of gallons of fermented food and have not had even the whisper of a cold in years.
I used to get a cold seasonally or when I was working super long hours. But, not since my kitchen table has evolved to be a place where well raised nutrient dense and fermented food is served. And I still burn the candle at both ends. Tough habit to break!
Maybe it's magic or coincidence but, I think it's the food.
Sauerkraut aids in digestion
Do you think that a big juicy burger or steak yields a sleepy unproductive afternoon? I used to think so too. But, no more!
At our cook out, I ate my enormous hamburger and then spearheaded a cartwheel contest, and no one looked at me with “you're crazy” eyes. This purple garlic sauerkraut is a delicious crisp addition to any meal that will aid you in easy, energy efficient digestion and imbue your body with greater immunity through more diverse gut ecology.
Purple garlic sauerkraut ingredients
- 1 head red cabbage, preferably organic
- 1 T unrefined sea salt
- 1 T minced or grated garlic
Purple garlic sauerkraut method
- Remove core from head of cabbage.
- Shred cabbage into thin ribbons with a knife or food processor.*
- Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon minced or grated garlic over the cabbage.
- Knead/squeeze the shredded cabbage. Get into it! You are breaking the cabbage down and helping it to release its juices.
- Add this soupy cabbage mixture to your fermentation vessel and press the cabbage down firmly. Really pack it in there. The mixture should be 1 inch from the lid of your jar and should be covered at the top with the beautiful brine you have made. Remember my Fermented Veggie Mantra: “Below the Brine is Fine.” **
- Screw the lid on tight. (Plastic lids will allow for expansion with greater ease than metal lids.
- Place your jar of culturing cabbage on a plate (to catch any brine that may be pushed out) and leave in a room temperature (70-85F) place for at least 1 week or until the kraut tastes tart but remains crisp. When it's finished fermenting, wipe off your jar and put it in the refrigerator.
*I like to thinly slice half the cabbage I'll be using and grate the other half. It is the perfect mix and you can perform both of these in almost any food processor. If you used a large head of cabbage, you may be able to fill an additional small jar as well.
*Can you add water? If you have an older head of cabbage, it may contain less juice and you may need to add up to 1/8 cup water. Not on top of the cabbage once it is pack in the jar but into the mixture you are squeezing and kneading in the bowl. However, the best tasting, most concentrated with beneficial bacteria and most effective brine at keeping your veggies fresh is made from the juice of the cabbage.
Want to see me ridiculously excited about fermenting and demonstrate how to process purple garlic sauerkraut?
This post was generously contributed by Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. Monica's delicious recipes will make your mouth water and your tummy purr. If you're lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, Real Food Devotee can make your life easier by delivering nutrient dense goodies directly to your door.
photo credit: Real Food Devotee