08 December 2008

Tasting the sauerkraut

Boy, you can't beat homemade kraut! I have this revelation every time I try something homemade for the first time, that I had never really tasted it until then. I was an ambivalent eater of sauerkraut until this week. Now I'm a convert.

We came home from the internet access center, late one afternoon, both of us particularly hungry, for it was a cold evening and we work up an appetite on our bikes. But it had been a busy morning, and untypically, I did not have a hot meal waiting for us in the oven. But we had boiled some of our brisket cuts in salted water, from the two year old bull-calf we recently butchered. This makes a kind of pseudo corned-beef that will keep in the cold room for a week, as a cold cut. And there was bread in the cabinet, and the sauerkraut was due for it's first tasting. So into the frying pan went olive oil, a few cups of kraut and some dill seed and caraway seed. I could have chopped a few onions in there too. And next some sliced beef soaking up the remaining oils and flavor. A little gravy on the side and toast in the oven. With a sprig of fresh parsley from a plant I transplanted into a pot for winter nibbling. And within 10 minutes we had a delicious nutritious entirely homegrown and homemade meal that not only satisfied our appetite and nourished our bodies, but put a smile of satisfaction on our faces, just looking down at the plate in front of us. What a blessing.


Chicago Mike said...

Hello Freija,

Was curious what your plans are, if any, to produce your own cooking oil. This is something my wife and I simply cannot figure out how to get around for a completely homemade meal. We tried sunflowers, but lost half our crop to squirrells, and the pressing was so inefficient, it was a mess.

Just curious, with best regard,

Chicago Mike

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

My favorite cooking oil is clarified butter, or ghee. Once it is melted and simmered for a bit, the milk solids sink to the bottom and the golden fat sits on top. Pour the golden liquid off the top, and it keeps at room temperature for months. It also will not burn like butter or some oils, so you can fry or even pop popcorn in it. And it adds a butter flavor to baked goods, etc. This is how we store butter when the fresh stuff is not on tap.

If you do not have the option to produce your own butter, you could definately get it locally and/or organically, and make your own ghee to use in the frying pan. It would at least be homemade ghee.

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Oh, Mike, here's a tutorial on making ghee, with pictures.


Chicago Mike said...


And thanks for blogging. Whenever I need an escape for a few, your site and apaetoday really give me a positive mental break (and some inspiration!).

Chicago Mike

El said...

I had the same experience when I made MY first sauerkraut, Freija. I call it the "Chinese food syndrome," as in the abominable stuff I grew up with was nothing compared to what you would get in a big-city Chinatown. There was just no comparing homemade to store-bought sauerkraut. And I love how handy this meal was for you: we tend to have a lot of those get-home-and-eat-quickly meals so it's great to have something like this on hand; I can so relate.

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

El, after my success with sauerkraut, I am set on experimenting with more lacto-fermented vegetables. I am doing some research today on carrot-kraut. And next year I am going to try fermenting green beans. It is a nice alternative to canning veggies, they are still crunchy and alive with enzymes, instead of soft and sterile.