Sauerkraut with the herbs of Georgian cuisine.
Georgia, one of the oldest settlement areas of mankind, is a mountain country with access to the Black Sea. Due to the different climatic zones and the resulting variety of cultivated products, a seasonally delicious and diverse cuisine developed, which was considered the haute cuisine of Soviet cooking. Today it is experiencing a renaissance among gourmets from all over the world.
White wine vinegar and the use of spices and fresh herbs play a central role: pepper, shabbats clover, mint, tarragon, parsley, condari (wild thyme), basil, my much-loved dill and, above all, cilantro. Cilantro is the king of Georgian herbs.
Sour and herbs? It made ping in my head!
The best thing about sauerkraut is that you can always rediscover it simply by changing the herbs and spices. The preparation is and remains simple, so that sauerkraut is a good ferment for beginners - only you have to be patient, 8 weeks fermentation time make the taste really well balanced.
For a 1l jar you need
- 1 white cabbage
- 2 large carrots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium sized white onion
- 2% rock salt
- fresh basil, coriander and mint leaves (10-15 pieces each)
- 1 tip of rosemary (about 10cm)
- 1 sprig fresh dill or ½ tsp dried dill tips
- ½ tsp fresh or dried marjoram
The herbs taste best when they are fresh. I have quite a few pots of herbs among the flowers and plants on the windowsill and in the garden, so I actually always have something in the house. Basil, cilantro and peppermint have to be fresh (or frozen), they lose too much flavor if you dry them. All other herbs you can use dried.
Because you will need to determine the salt at the end based on the weight of all the other ingredients, first weigh a large bowl in which you will later process the ingredients and write down the weight.
As with any sauerkraut, start with the white cabbage. Neatly strip off the outer 2-3 leaves and set aside. Then quarter the cabbage and cut the quarters into fine slices. This can be done with a knife, but it's faster to use a vegetable slicer on the finest setting. The finer you cut the strips, the softer the cabbage will be and the faster and easier it will be to knead enough brine (sometimes I feel like coarse farmer's cabbage, then I cut the slices thicker - and if I can't generate enough brine, fill up with 2% readymade salt brine).
After cutting, you should have 650 grams of cabbage. If you have more, just take a bigger jar. Or make a fresh cabbage salad to eat immediately.
Coarsely grate the carrots on the grater, roughly chop the garlic cloves and cut the onion into fine slices. Again, the vegetable grater on level 1 is suitable for this. Chop the herbs.
Mix everything together in the bowl and weigh. From the weight subtract the previously determined weight of the bowl. Take 2% from the result - this is how much salt is sprinkled on the vegetables in the bowl. If this is difficult, why not take my salt ratio calculator to the rescue 🙂
Then the fun begins! It's time for the kneading. To do this, press and knead the cabbage with your hands or a masher until the cell walls of the cabbage burst and a lot of liquid comes out. In total, you need enough brine (that's the name of the salty liquid) to cover the cabbage well in the jar.
Put the vegetables in a jar and cover them with the outer cabbage leaves prepared earlier. To do this, trim them a bit. The goal is to create a protective barrier so that the fine shreds of herbs and cabbage do not drift over the brine. A weight or other barrier also does well to prevent buoyancy.
The brine should end about 2-3 cm below the edge of the jar. Then there is neither spilling, nor is there too much air to favor mold. The first week is best to place in the dark between 18 ° and 24 ° C, after a week a little cooler, between 16 ° and 20 ° C.
I always let sauerkraut ferment for at least 8 weeks. Then the flavors are well developed, the acidity is balanced and the characteristic carbonic phase is over.