Kraut and Cider

March 23, 2009

As I mentioned, I made some homemade sauerkraut.  The process is pretty simple.  All you really need is a head of cabbage, some salt, a crock or jar in which it can do its thing and something to weigh it down.  I used the pot of a crock pot, and I placed a small plate over the kraut with a beer growler (filled with water) on top of the plate.  If you’re interested in making it, let me know, and I’ll give you more detailed instructions.  After 5 days I tasted my kraut to see how it was progressing: it was pleasantly crunchy, slightly salty and just a little bit sauer.  I waited another few days, and the flavor was incredible.  Since then, I have consumed a little every few days.  I think it’s supposed to last a few weeks, so I’ll let you know how that goes.  I am amazed that the cabbage maintains it’s crunchiness throughout the process.

One of my goals after making my kraut was to make some homemade reubens.  Since I don’t eat a lot of meat, and I almost never buy meat to cook at home, I tried some veggie reubens.  My first try was a tempeh reuben.  I’d never had tempeh, but it’s another fermented food, so I thought that was, logically, the first place to start.  Well, the tempeh was pretty bland and dry, so the reuben was a bit difficult to eat.  I tried another route.  I bought some soy philly cheese steak-style slices, and I used them instead of tempeh.  Success.  I don’t think I really tasted the soy slices, but that was fine with me, because the kraut is so good.

I also mentioned that I was experimenting with some cider.  Well, it’s actually kefir cider.  The only difference is that instead of allowing outside yeast to inocculate the liquid, I used a couple kefir grains.  After a few days, the cider began to bubble just as beer does when it’s fermenting.  After another couple of days, the fermentation died down, so I let it sit a bit longer to allow everything to settle.  I think, all in all, I waited about a week before I decided to bottle it.  I bought some flip-top bottles for the sake of ease in bottling.

Well, it tastes a little weird.  Court and I both tasted some initially, and it was barely drinkable.  I decided to wait a few days to see if the taste would develop in the bottle–I think it got a little better, but I don’t think Courtney agrees.  I’ll keep you updated.  And I’d love to let you taste some.  I think I’ll try non-kefir cider to see if the odd flavor is just because of the kefir; if it still tastes funky, I’ll assume that I need to let it age a bit.

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