With all the beautiful heads of cabbage that have been showing up in the Local Box lately, I decided it was high time to try my hand at sauerkraut. The dish seems to polarize folks, but I’m solidly in the love-it camp. I got to know it when I lived in the Alsace region of France, where choucroute (that’s French for sauerkraut) is a regional specialty. And cabbage is very high in vitamin C – and purportedly gets even more health-promoting attributes when you turn it into ‘kraut. But where to begin? My usual go-to recipe sources advised buying it in cans. And the directions I found in internet searches intimidated me with plastic buckets and long fermentation periods and mold you scrape off the surface with a spoon. The instructions I found from Mother Earth News seemed least-scary, so I decided to give it a go, using only one head of cabbage in my largest mixing bowl. I’m on day 3, now, and so far all seems to be going as planned.
In the meantime, I’ve put a query out to friends and family for tried-and-true ‘kraut experiences. So far, I’ve gathered a recipe from an Alsatian cookbook, and one from a friend’s grandmother that’s completely different — it calls for stove-top cooking and vinegar. So if at first I don’t succeed, I’ll still have options.
Have you ever made sauerkraut? Did your grandmother leave you her recipe? Please share! And stay tuned for my progress.