Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Pot And The Process

Ever since I read Michael Pollan's book, "Cooked," last summer, I have been interested to try fermentation. The sauerkraut recipe assured me that everything I needed by way of microbes was already on the cabbage leaves - all I had to do was give it a nice home to work in.

And that proved to be a bit of a challenge. All I needed was a wide-mouthed crock or glass container that would allow gas to escape the lid - seems easy, no? 

My local cooking store certainly did have a crock designed for making sauerkraut, but it was so expensive that it would have taken me years and years of sauerkraut making for that to be sensible. It was huge, too - we'd have sauerkraut for an army! And I wasn't even sure I'd like it, so spending over $100 on a crock seemed like an expensive gamble. I shelved the book and the idea.

Then, just before Christmas, cousin Jan took us to a craft show in Santa Rosa. There were all manner of artisans who had made a dazzling variety of gift items from bowls turned from gorgeous woods to warm and wooly knitted or crocheted items to pottery. And there in the pottery and glass room (which was spectacular - I could have spent a fortune in that one room!) was this little pot. I didn't initially think of the sauerkraut project, I was just stunned by its beauty and by the skill of the potter. Then, I was delighted by the price tag. Finally, the light bulb went on over my head and I thought "Sauerkraut!"

It has the perfect lid, well fitted to keep the bad stuff out, but loose enough to allow the gas to escape. The glaze is food-safe. And with its soft, blue-green glaze and graceful contours, it would look beautiful on my counter as the sauerkraut fermented away inside.

I brought it home and dithered for a few weeks about whether or not to start the process right away. Then, finally, one day the cabbage and the conviction converged and I made my maiden pot. I consulted "Cooked" and "DIY Delicious" before getting down my electric slicer and going to work thinly slicing the cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower.  

I concocted a brine, spiced and herbed it, then added the veggies, weighed it all down under the salty juice with some clean rocks, and waited with bated breath for the result. Every couple of days, I'd lift the lid and peek at my witches' brew, wondering if all was well. I noticed bubbles along the edges, and took that to be a good sign. The scent was mildly cruciferous but not sulfurous, so I hoped all was proceeding along nicely.

After two weeks or so, I decided it was ready.  Drum roll, please!

To be continued...


Blogger Diane said...

What a beauty. Anticipation for the result.....

Sunday, December 29, 2013  
Blogger Namastenancy said...

A cliffhanger in a food blog! You are a big tease - but what a beautiful pot!

Sunday, December 29, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Diane, I'll have the conclusion on Tuesday.

Nancy, yes, isn't it lovely? And so well made - the lid fits almost without wobble at all and the handle fits the hand perfectly.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013  

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