Watching the Crock
Around the New Year, inspired by Ed's raptures about his pickling crock, I found a nice smallish ceramic crock at a nearby shop, determined to try something different for food preservation this year.
I'd had the wild notion to try making sauerkraut. Granted, I've never tried fermentation before, and I've never been a fan of sauerkraut, but I thought I'd at least try and have some homemade kraut for My Dear Papa, who loved it.
Well, that was the idea, anyway. When I informed him of the plan, My Dear Papa pointed out that he had real difficulty with eating sauerkraut and other sour things these days, so he probably wouldn't partake.
Back to the drawing board! Instead, I remembered Bonnie's talk of kim chi on the Ethicurean, and then I found Emily's inspiring post about making kim chi to break in her crock. What the heck? I thought. It's worth a try.
I decided to follow Emily's recipe as it didn't sound terribly hot and spicy -- and I do like ginger -- so with two heads of cabbage from this week's double CSA share, I thought it was time to get started.
I shredded most of one head of cabbage and grated a couple of carrots, tossing them into the crock this morning before heading off to the Inn.
I added the brine and fumbled around for a dish that would truly fit the crock, finally settling on a small baking dish. Setting the dish atop the vegetables, I added a quart jar of water and allowed the excess brine to spill out (having set the crock in a baking dish) as the dish weighted down the vegetables.
Then, I walked away, leaving the dish to press down for the better part of the day (though I had to switch bowls at some point as the first one would only go down so far). By evening, I was ready to drain the vegetables, reserving the brine.
I added scallions (from my garden), ginger, crushed red peppers (from last year's preservation), salt, and sugar to the cabbage and carrots, stirring well to mix before returning them to the crock and topping with brine. I pressed a dish into the vegetables again and tucked the lot into the refrigerator.
According to Emily's recipe, I'll have to wait a few days to taste the final product, but I'm optimistic. It certainly looks good to this point!
Guess I'll just have to wait and see!