I have been staring at the same head of cabbage in my fridge for about two months now. There was a time when hubby and I were putting everything and the kitchen sink into fruit smoothies and cabbage was no exception. We figured it was an easy way to get our daily dose of fruits and veggies. While juicing a cabbage with some fruit might yield delicious results, it didn’t really liquify in our 40 year old blender the way I would have hoped. It’s a rare occasion that I get any sort of craving for cooked cabbage and so the poor, little head of non-distinct green leaves lived on the bottom shelf of the back of the fridge waiting to be called to duty.
Then one day I had a brilliantly stinky idea. I was going to make sauerkraut.
Truthfully, I never much cared for sauerkraut but once I make something from scratch, I am all over it like white on rice, or sauerkraut on soy dogs rather.
As do most of my culinary experiments, this one began with the internet. I quickly ascertained that I could have homemade sauerkraut in one to two weeks using my crockpot, a little water, salt, and some bricks. After that it was just a waiting game.
To make the kraut, pull off all the black leaves that accumulated while the cabbage sat in your fridge waiting for you to do something with it. Save these leaves ‘cuz you’re going to need them later. Shred the cabbage finely and load into your crockpot. Add a tiny bit of water since your cabbage is kind of dried out after two months. Then add a healthy dose of salt. Cover with the leaves your removed earlier and then weigh your cabbage down with the bricks. We covered our bricks in tin foil because we didn’t want our kraut to taste like, um, yard waste. That’s it! You don’t even have to turn the crock pot on. In fact, you can do this whole process using a giant bucket or whatever you have lying around the house (although I might not use things like a gas can. Ya know, poison and all that). Keep checking your kraut every few days and remove when it tastes all sour and krauty. Ours took about a week and a half.
Speaking of making things from scratch, I thought it was about time to try some homemade ketchup given my recent obsession with the stuff. If I were a better woman, I would have started with fresh tomatoes, but I totally didn’t. Martha be damned. It was however, extremely easy to make using a couple of cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and some seasonings. So easy that I’m not sure I’ll be buying Heinz anytime in the near future. The only downside is that it only saves for about a week in the fridge. Do you think you can freeze ketchup? (The real question is will I think its frozen tomato soup and proceed to eat it as such?)
1 can tomato sauce or puree
1 small onion peeled and quartered
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. salt
pinch ground cinnamon or curry powder.
Combine all ingredients and simmer until thick or about one hour. Remove onion. Refrigerate for up to one week.
Now that I was armed with a new army of condiments, I was ready for a BBQ! I
bribed called some friends and invited them over for a little pre-Memorial day get together.
The menu consisted of standard summer fare including bratwurst and hot dogs (for the carnivores), homemade sauerkraut and ketchup, cucumber salad, pickle dip and veggie chips, homemade baked beans, potato salad, broccoli salad, watermelon, brownies, green tea lemonade and a dessert that you will have read about later this week.
Happy Summer Fooding!