If you’re making your own yogurt, you can make your own whey by straining the yogurt through a thin dishcloth or cheesecloth layered over a colander placed over a bowl. The resulting yogurt will be thicker like Greek yogurt, or if you leave it long enough will become an even thicker yogurt cheese which can be used like cream cheese in baking or for spreading. With the whey you strain from your yogurt, you can make your own fermented vegetables. Let’s start with sauerkraut.
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons wheyIn a bowl, mix all ingredients and pound with wooden pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices. Place in a quart-sized jar and press down firmly with pounder or meat hammer until juices come tot he top of the cabbage. Be sure to leave AT LEAST one inch between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for three days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but will improve with age.
As you can see in the picture above, a whole shredded cabbage starts out looking like a whole lot more than will fit in your quart jar, but once you’ve pounded it a bit it really will fit. Be sure you leave that inch of space – I had liquid leak out of my first jar because I didn’t leave enough room for the fermenting process!
I lived in Germany for two years while I was in high school so I have a high appreciation for sauerkraut, but even if you’re not used to eating it be assured that there are many ways to enjoy adding this condiment to your diet. You can use it on Reuben sandwiches, serve a small amount on top of a roast or pork chop, or use it as a nice accompaniment to sausages and potatoes. My aunt, who has never cared for commercially-produced sauerkraut, found she quite liked sauerkraut made in this traditional way, so even if you think you don’t prefer the taste of sauerkraut, you might give this traditional version a try!
Ideally you should keep fermented foods in a cool dry dark place at about 40 degrees, like a root cellar. If you don’t have a root cellar, the top shelf of your refrigerator will work fine!
The Farm Shop carries a number of supplies that will be helpful to you in making your own fermented vegetables. At the shop you can find butter muslin for straining yogurt or you can buy whey if you don’t care to strain your yogurt. The shop also carries sea salt, and a variety of cultured vegetables if you want to try them before you decide to make them!
*Recipe taken from Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link)