Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yogurt and Sauerkraut: Make Your Own


Buy the cultures in the refrigerated section of a health food store--they're sold in a brown jar, usually, and cost about $10--enough to make twenty gallons of yogurt.

56 oz whole milk
1 1/2 tsp live active cultures

Heat the milk until almost boiling, then turn off the heat.  Pour into a ceramic, glass or enamel container and cool to the temperature of a baby's milk (108-112 degrees F).  Sprinkle the cultures over the top and stir with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved.  Pour the mixture into small jars or custard dishes and keep at a temperature of 108-112 degrees for 7 to 8 hours.  You can use a "yogurt maker" to do this (it's well worth the $20 investment), or place the jars in the oven, unheated, for 10 to 12 hours.  Your yogurt is done!  Refrigerate, and eat 6 oz a day, plain, in smoothies, or with maple syrup, honey, or fruit.  (Don't cook it, or you'll destroy the natural probiotics.)


It may be worth finding or buying one of the old glazed, ceramic, German crocks designed for the purpose of making sauerkraut, but any food-grade plastic bucket or glass jars will work, as long as they have lids.  When it's finished put it in glass jars in the refrigerator, and add it to sandwiches, or include some on your dinner plate each night.  The nutritive value of homemade sauerkraut far outstrips an enumeration of its vitamin and fiber content (which are high), because the billions of lactobacilli you get per serving, created by the fermentation process, are incalculably salubrious.

7 heads of organic cabbage, red, or green
1/2 cup salt
Brine:  heat 2 Tbsp salt in 2 gallons of water, and allow to cool

Shred the cabbages, removing old or brown outer leaves.
Don't wash them!
Layer the shredded cabbage with a sprinkling of salt in a ceramic, plastic, or glass container until it's filled to 4 or 5 inches from the top.  Cover with a layer of cheesecloth, and lay weights on top (a plate, or half-circles of ceramic designed for this purpose, or a food-safe plastic bag filled with marbles or water.  Pour the brine over the whole thing, so that 1 to 2 inches of brine cover the cabbage.  Remove stray pieces of cabbage.  Cover the container and keep it in a cool (68 to 74 degrees), dark place for 6 weeks.  Don't disturb it, because the fermentation process is anaerobic, which is why you must keep the cabbage under brine.  

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