The season of cabbage is coming to a close…at least in our roadside Jardin. This lovely head of cabbage was juuuuust about to bolt; the stem had begun to lengthen, in anticipation of sending up its bloom, and instead of forming a neat, dense head, the leaves had begun to open like a rose. It was still tender, though, as only fresh garden produce can be. As the plant begins to bolt, it directs more and more of its energy to the production of flower and seed; the remaining plant tissues are drained of their succulent moisture, as all the energy instead is directed to reproduction. We caught this lovely brassica just in time to still be moist, tender, and delicious. A rosette like this really blurs the line between edible and ornamental, doesn’t it? She’s so lovely.
But enough swooning over the cabbage. This recipe could be made with mere mortal cabbage, as well. Or a perfect head from your own garden, or from the Farmer’s Market. In fact, the whole idea behind this kraut is that it is composed of what is beautiful and perfect, right now. Our friend Katie Shea mentioned this a few weeks back, when she joined us to make a seasonal tonic in the kitchen. That gift and luxury of working with “whatever is in its perfect state,” is something that we can take for granted on the Central Coast, where so much amazing food is grown. It’s a particular joy of the home gardener, too. There will never be produce so fresh as that which was picked just outside your front door.
Even if the dern cabbage didn’t head up properly, it was still incredibly fresh and tender. The herbs were blooming and positively humming with life and flavor. And even though carrots are available year-round, the carrots that have been rained on all spring long, then warmed in the soil in early summer sun, are some of the juiciest, tenderest, and crunchiest ones you’ll find.
This recipe is a celebration of what was beautiful and perfect one day in early summer. Perhaps in your garden, you might spare a few leaves of basil, or, later in the year, some flowering basil tops that need to be plucked off anyway, to keep the plant producing. You might add a radish or a sprig of cilantro, or use garlic chives and flowers in lieu of the standard…The idea is inspiration, and being unafraid to experiment. What looks vibrant and full of life is bound to be nourishing, in more ways than one.
Chop or shred the cabbage finely. Chop the herbs and grate the carrot coarsely.
In a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over the cabbage, and massage it gently until liquid starts to form.
Add the carrots and herbs and mix well.
Pack the mixture into a clean quart jar, making sure that there are no air spaces in the jar, and that liquid covers the top of the vegetable mixture.
Affix a fermentation airlock to the top of the jar, if desired. Here, we are using the Kraut Source, so we do not need to add a weight; the spring-loaded airlock presses the vegetables down well beneath the brine.
Set to ferment at room temperature for 10-21 days. For tips on how to figure out when your kraut is done, see our article "How Do I Know When My Ferment Is Done...Fermenting?"
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.