Some new stuff is coming down the pipe up at the Gazebo. Judy had her ACL surgery, Erin has a campus visit in Missouri, and my schedule for the semester still isn’t set. My boss at the Women’s Center is leaving for a new position at Harvard, and that means…well it might mean a few things for me. Updates to come soon.
Tomorrow is Valentines Day, though, and instead of any fancy plans, I decided to ferment and pickle. Speaking of plumbing (heh) sauerkraut is supposed to be very good for the digestive system and for social confidence! And beets, well, they are red. The deepest of deep, dark, staining reds. A well-lubricated digestive tract + extroversion + red: how’s that for a perfect Valentine’s Day?
So, I pickled some beets.
Look at that bloody beet carnage. I didn’t kill anyone, but my kitchen was a murder scene.
I used my mandolin slicer to julienne the beets and I felt like I was dismembering a body. You can only slightly see it in the first picture, but after I piled the julienne slices in the mason jars, I stabbed a few sprigs of rosemary in there for some extra sweet and savory flavor.
After the beets were in their jars, I worked on my kraut. I have been in a serious kraut kick and one of them I bought recently had kale in it!! (I can’t resist some alliterative additions…put a kick of kale in that kraut! okay I’m done).
That’s a whole head of cabbage and a (rather small) bunch of red kale, the cabbage julienned on the mandolin slicer and the kale knifed to tiny little pieces. After you let it sit in a ton of salt for a few hours, you pack the veggies in a glass jar.
A surprising amount of cabbage and kale fit into this mid-sized jar. You have to pack it down to squeeze the moisture to the top, crushing the leaves as tightly as possible to form a nice layer of brine at the top. It won’t be quite ready to eat for another 3 or 4 days (I could eat it now but it wouldn’t have the fermented probiotic goodness that apparently is the Valentine’s Day miracle bacteria).
So, happy pickle/ferment day, everyone! (And Happy Valentines, too ❤ )
Julienned Pickled Refrigerator Beets
- 3-4 medium red beets, peeled
- 4 large sprigs of rosemary
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup water
- Julienne your beets in whatever method causes the least (or the most, if you prefer) juicy beet carnage. Keep in mind that shit stains.
- Split the beets into two clean mason jars, an add the rosemary (2 sprigs per jar).
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and heat until boiling, whisking the mixture to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, turn off heat and stir in water.
- Pour the brine over the beets, dividing the liquid equally. Make sure there is enough brine to cover the veggies (if not, add a little more water).
- Place in the fridge. They should be ready to eat in about 24 hours!
Kitchen Kale Cabbage Kraut (see what I did there?)
- 1 small head of cabbage, cored
- 1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed
- 4 tbsp salt
- Shred the cabbage and kale. You can use a knife, a mandolin slicer – for the cabbage – or a food processor.
- Put the kale and cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let sit for 3 to 4 hours, allowing the moisture to seep out of the leaves.
- Pack your mason jar. Put a few spoonfuls in at a time, and press down to squeeze out more of the juices (this will be the brine!). I used a smaller glass that fit down into the jar to pack the kraut. Keep going until you have packed all of the kraut into the jar.
- Weigh the cabbage down with something while it ferments. The internet suggests that you put a smaller glass in the jar weighed down with stones or marbles, so that’s what I did. Cover the jar with a light towel or cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band to allow air to circulate but keep out dust or fruit flies.
- Let sit for 3 or 4 days, or longer, depending on the tanginess of your desired kraut. Check the kraut each day and press the glass down further to keep the veggies under the brine.
- Eat kraut!