Classic Sauerkraut

So many recipes have this kraut being made in a pint or quart size container! If you are going to make kraut go ahead and use a wide mouth larger crock (glass, enameled earthenware or plastic will do) and make enough to last for a few weeks. One of the amazing things about making sauerkraut is that there is always cabbage as it winters well, so you can make it all year long. This is a classic recipe, but I do make a few flavors I love, but its great to start with a basic recipe before you get fancy.

Tips Before You Start

  • Make sure your container has no white film in it when it is dry. If so, use a different container.
  • Wash it thoroughly and pour boiling water to rinse it a couple of times to make sure it is clean.
  • Have a large CLEAN, mixing bowl, plate and jar (all cleaned in boiling water) and a clean cloth for covering your crock and kraut.
  • Your hands must be VERY clean. Make sure you have everything you need around you so that you don’t have to open drawers, turn on faucets, touch phones, computers, books, or anything while making your kraut. If you have to, wash your hand thoroughly in hot water again.
  • Use wooden spoons and mashers and glass or crockery for dipping and weighting.
  • The best and freshest ingredients will yield the best sauerkraut. You can make relish with your old, tough cabbage, but use your young, fresh, tender cabbage for your sauerkraut.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of cabbage
  • 3 tbs of sea salt
  • 2 tbs caraway seeds
  • 3 tbs juniper seeds

Directions:

1: Quarter the cabbage and slice out the core. It is easier to slice when it is quartered this way. Slice the cabbage into thin slices.

2: When doing 5 lbs of cabbage I divide the cabbage into three parts. Put one part of cabbage in the bowl at a time. Add a tablespoon of salt, 1/3 of the caraway and 1/3 of the juniper. Crush the cabbage in the bowl with the salt and spices until it starts to break down a bit.

3: Pour it into the clean crock and press it down firmly with your fist or a wooden pestle.

4: After all the cabbage is pressed down as much as it can be add a sprinkle of salt on top. If the liquid from the cabbage doesn’t cover the cabbage completely add a little water. Put a clean plate on the kraut that fits into the crock. Place the jar of water on top of the plate to press it down and release bubbles that form. Cover the crock with a clean cloth. Keeping the crock in the kitchen as your kraut brines is useful. You don’t want to forget about it! Make sure to check it every day.

5: In 2 or 3 days, white scum will form on the top. Skim this off with a clean spoon every few days. Repeat this skimming (a 5-minute job) each day until the bubbles stop rising, or for about 2 weeks. Then your sauerkraut is done!

6: You can put it in the fridge in the crock. If so, just skim it one more time & wash the plate and cover with a fresh cloth.

7: At this stage put mine in boiled mason jars before refrigerating it so it is easy to eat. Please remember as with all fermented foods, do not double dip. Your saliva is filled with bacteria that will happily rot your kraut. If you put it in serving size jars its easier to eat. Happy eating!

Thai Beef Jerky

Is actually called dried beef in Thai and is a classic Northeastern dish served as part of a meal. This is a recipe I get a hankering for when I am having childhood memories of Thailand. It takes more effort than my other jerkys because of the frying step, but it is remarkably fragrant and the frying makes it wonderfully fat, satisfying and easy to chew.

If you make a big batch, you can freeze the dehydrated meat and fry small batches when ever you have the taste and time for this special dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch cilantro roots finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbs red boat fish sauce
  • 1 lb beef (rump or denver steak are good inexpensive cuts) sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • Lard or suet for frying (duck fat would work as well)

Directions:

1: With a mortar and pestle, food processor or spice grinder blend the first 6 ingredients together

2: Mix well with the beef

3: Lay the pieces of meat on the dehydrator tray and dehydrate between 135 and 145 for about 8 hours, checking to make sure it is thoroughly dry.

4: Heat fat in a frying pan to a medium heat and fry the slices until they slightly lighten in color. Enjoy when they are cool enough to touch with your hands. 

Spiced Beef Jerky

This is a recipe using ground meat is inspired by Native pemmican. Native recipes include even more fat to nourish the nerves. Always be sure to add liver to any ground meat recipes to increase the nutritional value by leaps and bounds. It adds also a delicious rich taste that we love. If you aren’t a fan of liver, putting it in your ground meat is a great way to begin to incorporate this necessary food into your diet.

We have jerky as a snack every day! I have begun to try a new recipe. I’m writing this one down so that I can get start working on my new one!

Keep your jerky in the refrigerator even though it is preserved, so it lasts longer.

Ingredients

  • 3lbs of ground grassfed 20% fat
  • 1/2 lb beef or lamb liver processed in food processor to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon onion granules
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • salt (Shawn likes it less salty so I only add 1 tablespoon. You will find your right amount)

Directions:

1. Mix, by hand, all the ingredients in a big bowl.

2. Take a small portion out of the bowl and roll it into a long sausage shape. it helps to have wet hands

3. Cover it with plastic wrap and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick.

4. Remove plastic and slice the flattened roll into strips about an inch wide. Place each strip on the tray for the dehydrator. Continue until all the meat is cut and in the dehydrator.

5. Dehydrate for 10-12 hours at 135 degrees or until the moisture has left the meat, but it is not overly crisp. Start checking at about 10 hours and every hour after that. The jerky will be uniformly dark when it is done.

6. Let it cool before bagging and refrigerating it.

7. Enjoy every day!!

Real Dill Pickles

So many people have asked me for this recipe! I am so glad to share it. While pickles made from distilled vinegar are “as digestible as rocks” fermented foods are amazing because they actually help and heal digestion! These pickles are easy to make, delicious and full pf probiotics for aiding in digestion. Please, NEVER use sugar when making vegetable ferments. Vegetables are already full of sugar and never need any added, unless you want to damage your health!

A general rule of thumb to consider in salting your ferments: more salt to slow microorganism action in summer heat; less salt in winter when microbial action slows.

Added to 1 quart of water, each tablespoon of sea salt adds 1.8% brine. 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 quart of water yields a 3.6% brine, 3 tablespoons yields 5.4%, and so on. I usually use 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water knowing I want to eat pickles all winter. This summer my pickles have been done in a week if they sit in the kitchen. In the cool of the basement they slowed a bit.

My favorite combination for flavor and crispness is to add both oak leaves and grape leaves. An occasional horseradish leaf is lovely for that spicy flavor!

Time frame: 1-4 weeks

Step 2

Step 2

Special Equipment:

  • Ceramic or glass crock / food-grade plastic bucket
  • Plate or lid that fits INSIDE the top of crock or bucket
  • jug filled with water, or other weight
  • Cloth cover

Ingredients for 1 gallon :

Step 3

Step 3

  • 3 to 4 pounds unwaxed cucumbers (small to medium size)
  • 6 tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 to 4 heads fresh flowering dill, or 3 to 4
  • tablespoons/ of any form of
  • dill (fresh or dried leaf or seeds)
  • 6 or 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh grape, oak, and/or
  • horseradish leaves (the tannins help keep your cucumbers crisp)
  • 1 pinch black peppercorns

Process:

Step 4   

Step 4

 

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

Step 6

  1. Rinse cucumbers, taking care to not bruise them, and making sure their blossoms are removed. Scrape off any remains at the blossom end. If you are using cucumbers that aren’t fresh off the vine that day, soak them for a couple of hours in very cold water to freshen them.
  2. Dissolve sea salt in hot water to create brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved. add the peppercorns
  3. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it some of the dill, garlic, grape and oak leaves.

  4. Place cucumbers in the crock. place the rest of the dill, garlic, leaves

  5. Pour brine over the cucumbers. Place the (clean) plate over them, then weigh it down with the jug or weight of your choice. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 tablespoon of salt to each cup of water.

  6. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.

  7. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.

  8. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock every day.

  9. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.


Preserved Lemons

Vibrant preserved lemons: these delicious guys are a staple for quick cooking in my kitchen. they are good for marinating chicken, beef, pork and i use them blended in a small food processor, with garlic & parsley for steak marinade, with anchovies, garlic & rosemary for lamb. they last over a year in the fridge, but mine never do!

You might have noticed the meyer lemons in the market right now. There is an extraordinary crop & the price is great. They are my favorite: tart, sweet and fragrant. This is the way I am able to enjoy them in every season. This year I am following the same recipe with kumquats. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

10 - 12 well washed lemons

2/3 - 1 cup of beautiful sea salt ( i prefer gray salts for this recipe)

1/4 cup olive oil

you will need a jar or two with lids that fit well either one 20 oz or two quarts.

1: cut 6 of the lemons into 8 pieces and remove the seeds. Toss with the salt into a bowl.

2: pack them into the jar or jars. if there is more than an inch of room at the top, do step one again with one or two more lemons.

3: squeeze enough juice from the remaining lemons to fill the jars until the lemons are just covered with juice (i saved squeezed lemon skins for my broth making endeavors/frozen)

4: leave on the counter or in cupboard for 5 days shaking once a day

5: add the olive oil on day 5 or 6. Refrigerate... use a clean fork or spoon when getting them out of the jar. Use a clean fork or spoon when getting them out of the jar to use. If you want them to last, don’t double dip! Enjoy.