Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts.
Note: A mandoline is a tool to create uniform cuts in a vegetable. From Jim Bovino of Gyst Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis.
• 1 medium head of green cabbage (about 3 lb.), with 1 whole leaf reserved
• 1 1/2 tbsp. kosher or sea salt (or, to be more precise, calculate total cabbage weight and add 2.5 percent of that weight in salt)
• 1 tbsp. caraway seeds, optional
• Half-gallon Ball jar or other wide-mouth container
Clean off outer leaves of cabbage and cut away any blemishes. Quarter, core and slice cabbage into thin ribbons on mandoline, with food processor or by hand.
In large mixing bowl, work salt into the cabbage ribbons, massaging the leaves until they become limp. If desired, add caraway seeds. Cover bowl and let mixture “sweat” for 2 to 3 hours, forming a natural brine. Press mixture, with brine, into a clean jar, ensuring that cabbage is beneath brine. Cover with a whole cabbage leaf or plastic wrap. Weigh down with ceramic weights, a smaller jar weighed down with water or marbles, or a clean rock.
Place curing vessel on a plate (in case liquid leaches out) and store in a cool, dark place, ideally no less than 48 degrees and no more than 65 degrees. Taste every few days. When the sauerkraut reaches desired taste and consistency, move container to refrigerator. It can be stored there for six months or longer.
Traditional Whole Pickled Carrots in Coriander Orange Brine
Makes 1 quart.
Note: From Jim Bovino of Gyst Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis.
• Whole carrots with tops: enough to fill 1 wide-mouth quart jar
• 3 tbsp. whole coriander
• 1 1/2 c. water plus 1 tsp. to dissolve salt, divided
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
• 1 orange
Trim carrots’ green, leafy tops to about 1/4 inch high. Scrub carrots to remove any dirt and debris (no need to peel.) Pack carrots vertically into the jar, tops up. (The carrot tops should not be above the shoulder of the jar. If they are larger, cut them down to fit.)
To prepare the brine: Using mortar and pestle (or whatever’s handy), slightly crush coriander seeds. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to just below boiling, approximately 185 degrees. Add coriander seeds and bay leaves to water. Set aside and allow to reach room temperature.
Dissolve salt in 1 teaspoon water and add to cooled mixture. Zest and juice orange, removing seeds. Add orange zest and juice to brine, stirring well, then pour over carrots in jar. Liquid should cover carrots completely, so no part of them is exposed to air. Add more water if needed to cover.
Place a small piece of plastic wrap over top of carrots and weigh down with ceramic weights, a clean smaller jar weighed down with water or marbles, or a clean rock. Place jar on a plate (in case liquid leaches out) and store in a cool, dark place, ideally no more than 65 degrees. Taste every few days, and when carrots reach desired taste and consistency, move container to refrigerator. They can be stored there for six months or longer.