This is a special kraut, perfect for the fall and winter. It’s delicious, and beautiful as well. I like to use whole spices when I ferment, because I enjoy the texture, but not everyone enjoys biting into a whole peppercorn, even a delicious one, softened and saturated with sauerkraut juice. So please, feel free to grind the peppercorns if you wish, or add more or less of them as you see fit. Likewise, the cinnamon stick could be replaced with a half-teaspoon of cinnamon…but the stick has a certain flair, don’t you think?
The subtle cinnamon flavor saturates the entire kraut with just a whisper of seasonal flavor. The nutmeg chimes in, the coriander adds another note, that steers the taste back to savory…and then there are the tiny slivers of turmeric, and the larger ginger slices, and the tiny mustard seeds, to shout their spicy news from the mountaintop of your taste buds. Yes, we’re mixing metaphors here, and perhaps we should calm down. After all, kraut is kraut, right?
You can be the judge, once you make it.
This recipe made 3 quarts of kraut.
Finely chop the cabbage, removing the core and outer leaves.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the salt with the shredded cabbage. Massage the kraut until the texture begins to change, and liquid begins to pool at the bottom of the bowl.
Add the chopped pumpkin, cranberries, and spices. Toss to mix them well.
Pack the kraut-to-be into the fermenting vessel. In this case, we used a 1/2 gallon Ball jar with the Ferment’n top for the bulk of it, and a one-and-a-half pint Ball jar for the rest. Use a muddler or kraut-pounder to pack it in firmly, with no trapped air spaces. Allow 1" of headspace, to allow for expansion as the kraut ferments.
Place a weight on the top of the kraut, to ensure that the cabbage stays beneath the brine.
Secure the lid and the airlock, and wait! Keep the ferment at cool room temperature for 2-3 weeks.
When the kraut has a flavor that you enjoy, it is ready to eat! Replace the airlock with a lid and store the kraut in the fridge, where it will keep up to 2 months; except of course if the kraut takes on an unpleasant odor or mold. When in doubt throw it out! Or, you know, put it on the compost pile.
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