Here's what you need:
1 head of white cabbage
1/4 head of red cabbage
2 tablespoons of common hogweed seed
2 tablespoons of dried stinging nettles
2 tablespoons of juniper berries
1,5 tablespoon sea salt
clean glass jar
stones (maybe you want to boil them for a while to make sure they are clean)
Chop all of the cabbage, place in a large bowl and add the salt and wild herbs. Now, give your cabbage a little massage. Let stand for about 30 minutes, this allows some of the juices to come out.
Fill a glass jar with the mixture, firmly pressing down every layer of material with your fist. You'll be simply amazed at how much juice will be released, and how much cabbage can fit in one jar! When the jar is filled, take some stones and cover the cabbage mixture with these, so that everything is pressed down. This will force more juice to come out. Eventually (after 2 to 24 hours) , the brine level will be higher than the cabbage. Then you can close the jar and let it ferment.
Take a daily look at it; you'll see there is something going on there. Bubbles, maybe a little foam, some noises. These are the good bacteria doing their job. After a few days, taste a bit of your batch. Some people like this fermented for a long time, others don't. Warm weather will speed up the fermentation process and cold weather will slow it down.
Looking for more fermentation inspiration? Visit Sandor Katz's website.
And why again should we ferment?
- Because it's a low-cost, natural and easy way to preserve food
- Because it boosts the available nutrients (did you know that sauerkraut contains more vitamin C than unfermented cabbage? That's exactly why it was a lifesaver on long sea journeys).
- Because it's good for your guts: our intestinal flora LOVES these lactobacilli that are abundantly present in fermented foods.
- Because it's always an experiment, and -come on, just admit it!- we all have a secret crazy scientist living in us.
Hmmm... and next year I want to try this with some Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot).
What about you? What wild kitchen experiments have you been doing lately?