Brian may have his yeast beer buddies, but I've got my own microscopic friends. I've already been converted to making my own yogurt (which is so stupidly simple that I'm a little disgusted with myself for buying the stuff for so many years) and this week I deepened my relationship with lactic acid bacterias by making sauerkraut.
I snagged some of the brewing supplies that Brian wasn't using: an ale pail, lid and S air lock. Got out my 4 heads of Tantre cabbage (about 7 lbs total), my mandoline, knife and kosher salt.
Then I gave my right forearm a terrific workout shredding all that cabbage into the sterilized pail:Hmmm...not enough cabbage me thinks....
So I dashed off to Krogers (it was Sunday evening) and picked up 4 more huge organic cabbages (.59/lb which seemed pretty cheap to me). By the time I finished shredding those big old mama's my hand was getting numb. Maybe next time I'll use the food processor, even though I don't have one of the newer shwoopy kind with the wide mouth feed tube.
I stirred in the recommended amount of salt (about 3 T per 5lbs) and then ignored it for a while until the cabbage started sweating out its juice. Good god does that stuff ever sweat!
I put a clean plate on top of the cabbage and stuck on another container filled with water to weigh it down and keep the cabbage below the top of the brine. Then I stuck on the pail lid and plunked the thing down in the basement where it will stay relatively cool.
I hear you can get kraut in 5 days if you put in a probiotic, like one of those pills from the health food store, but since the only ones I had in the house were blueberry flavored chewables (from when one of the critters was having tummy troubles) I figured that I'd go the slow and traditional route this time.
So, now we wait for at least a couple of weeks. But instead of tapping my foot impatiently, I'm going to think of it as party planning time! We'll have no need to deal with the crowds at the German Park this summer: we have Brian on board for beer, Brian Pinkelman can make the sausage, I'll supply the sauerkraut, the library will provide the CDs of polka tunes and Sarah will make an appearance dressed as the St. Pauli girl. Right Sarah?