Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homemade Sauerkraut

Making your own sauerkraut is SO easy! I wanted to make it for years but was scared. I tried to make it once a few years ago, wasn't the best recipe or procedure, and it got all moldy because I forgot about it. This recipe is pretty foolproof. According to Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions, to ensure consistently satisfactory results, you should add homemade whey (never use commercial concentrated whey or dried whey). Whey supplies lactobacilli and acts as an inoculant. Personally I've had great results whether I use whey or not, so that's totally up to you.

1 head organic cabbage
1 TB real salt
4 TB homemade whey (optional)

Remove outer leaves of cabbage. Shred the cabbage, minus the core. I use they shredding disk in my food processor. You could shred by hand or slice really thin with a knife if you'd like. Place shredded cabbage in a big bowl. Toss with salt, and whey if you're using it. Pound it really good, you want to release the liquid. I usually start by pounding it with a potato masher, then I squeeze it really good with my hands (obviously wash them well first)...then I place a bowl or plate on top of the cabbage with weights on it and let it sit for a half hour or so to get more liquid out.
Like this:
Don't mind the tiny sliver of carrot that accidentally got mixed in from a batch with carrots =)
Take cabbage mixture and press it down into a sterilized quart jar. Use a wooden dowel or a rubber spatula to push it down really well so the liquid rises above the cabbage. The liquid must be above the cabbage, if it's not, keep pressing. If it really seams like your liquid won't rise anymore, you can add a little salt water (real salt with purified water). Put the lid on real tight. Leave jar at room temperature for atleast three days. I sometimes leave mine for up to 7 days. I usually taste it and see if I'd like it a little tangier. After the 3 days (or however long you let it ferment) put it in the fridge. It will last for a very long time. The beauty of fermented food is that if it goes bad, it's extremely obvious. It will smell so bad that nothing could make you want to eat it =)
The first batch of sauerkraut I made was SO exciting! After the fermenting time, I opened up the jar and took a bite. I kept yelling "I made sauerkraut!!!" The kids kind of thought I was nuts. They obviously just don't understand how expensive a jar of organic sauerkraut is! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Raw Ranch Dressing

I love ranch dressing! I have not found an organic ranch dressing in the store that I actually liked. So a couple months ago I started making my own and I love it! It reminds me of my favorite ranch from a restaurant in California I used to work at. I compare all ranch dressings to that one!
Organic ingredients are always recommended.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk (I always make ranch immediately after making butter. A friend gave me a recipe for using kefir instead too, which is pretty yummy, if you can get raw organic kefir, or make it yourself)
1 ts garlic chives (regular chives would work great too), chopped
1/2 ts dried parsley
1/2 ts dried dill
1/2 ts garlic powder
1/2 ts onion flakes or onion powder
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of good salt (celtic or real salt) or more to taste
1/8 ts ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for atleast a half hour before using. Use within a week.