Anyway, all of this is to say that cabbage is a staple everywhere it grows, whether it's the big round kind I got Friday or the Chinese báicài (white vegetable) as it's called in Mandarin (bok choy in Cantonese). As winter nears, families stockpile loads of the stuff, drying it a little and then pickling it. You see it everywhere in northern China at harvest time. In Korea, too, I'd imagine, where kimchi is the national dish.
Here, cabbage is mostly relegated to St. Patrick's Day dinners, boiled, and to top hotdogs, pickled. If you want to get fancy, you can make the Alsatian choucroute (sauerkraut and sausage).
Another memory: shopping in Germany with a friend who wanted to know the English words for various foods. "Und was ist das englische Wort für 'Sauerkraut'?" she asked. Ummm, it's "sauerkraut." She did a great double-take.
The best sauerkraut, as ever, is homemade, using whey as a fermenting agent. You can make it with just salt, but it takes longer and isn't as authentic. As I mentioned in my homemade ricotta post, I found a great step-by-step sauerkraut recipe and put that leftover whey to use.
The ingredients are simple: a large head of cabbage, some carrots, and onion. Plus two tablespoons sea salt and a quarter-cup of whey. Plus non-chlorinated water (more on that in a minute).
You could chop everything by hand, but for this amount of cabbage a food processor is extra-handy. Core and slice the cabbage and feed it through. Remember to check the bowl and empty it often or it will look like this:
Mash it and stir it several times over a half-hour to 45-minute period. It will get quite juicy and reduce somewhat in volume.
Then you need a gallon jar (or two 2-quart ones). Make sure it's very clean. I wash mine in hot hot water and then rinse it with a mild bleach solution and let it dry.
You can see how big the jar is here. I can barely get my hand halfway around it.
Pack the cabbage in and mash it down thoroughly. You don't want any air pockets in it.
You'll probably need to add a little water to the top. The cabbage should be completely submerged.
I confess, I'm a little worried because I just read somewhere else that you should not add chlorinated tap water because it will inhibit fermentation. Uh-oh! Stay tuned.
Next, take a gallon-sized ziplock bag and push it down into the jar so it's touching the cabbage and the sides and fill it with water. This will act as a weight on the cabbage and seal out any air. Close the bag and put the lid on the jar.
This jar used to contain olives or pickles or artichoke hearts. Then it was a candy jar on my desk for a while. That was in a small office, and it wasn't hard to keep full, especially since there was a guy who would come by once a week from Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co.. My cow-orkers would buy candy from him to help replenish my stock.
The jar still has my old label:
My days of promoting tooth decay from my desk are over, alas. In a bigger office it would bankrupt me. Plus I'd never get any work done with all the traffic.
The sauerkraut has to sit at room temp (ideally 68-72 degrees F) for three days. I put it in my basement, where it's not as warm as my kitchen. Then I'll put it in the fridge. Supposedly it gets better the longer you leave it in the refrigerator.
Here's hoping it turns out!
And here's an update. Turned out great!
Other recently tested goat-milk recipes:
honey vanilla ice cream
Raspberry ice cream
Mexican chocolate pudding
And an excellent use for the ricotta:
Ricotta torte with squash, corn and dill