The thing that excites me about fermenting foods the most, is that you can do this no matter what time of the year with whatever you have on hand. So, if it’s late fall, ferment apples or pumpkin. And if it’s early spring, don’t wait for your summer harvest, ferment your early cabbage. That is what Chris is sharing with us, today. So read on for a great twist on the average sauerkraut.
Why wait for the fall cabbages to be ready in your garden when baby bok choy or suey choy, two oriental cabbages, can be harvested in just 45 days from planting? Since these oriental greens are fast growing, they are ready to use in mild-tasting ferments, when other garden vegetables are just getting started.
Baby bok choy has succulent stalks and leafy tops. When you pound them with a kraut pounder, they juice down a lot. So while this sauerkraut from Chinese cabbage recipe calls for eight cups of chopped baby bok choy, it will only be three to four cups of finished kraut, inside the jar. You can also use suey choy, full-size bok choy or a combination for this recipe.
How to Make Sauerkraut from Chinese Cabbage
An Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
Yield: 1 quart
• 8 cups of thinly chopped baby bok choy or suey choy
• 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 cup of chives, finely chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled, grated
• 4 stalks of celery thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
• 2 tbsp. of Himalayan salt
• 2 tbsp. starter culture or whey
Wash the suey choy or Chinese cabbage under the tap, being sure to wash away insects and dirt. Drip dry in a colander.
Thinly slice the leaves of bok choy beginning at the leafy edge, including the middle stalk.
Prepare the ginger by peeling and grating on the coarse teeth of a box grater.
Wash and prepare a large bunch of chives, including flower buds, chopping finely.
Peel carrots. Grate them on the coarse side of a box grater, for color and interest.
Wash and thinly slice celery.
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Using a heavy kraut pounder, pound the cabbage until it is bruised and juicy. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cabbage.
Place the vegetables into a quart wide-mouth jar. Add the starter culture directly to the jar. Press down with the kraut pounder to fully cover the cabbage with juice.
Place the glass weight from the Fermentools kit on top of the vegetables in the jar and press down to fully submerge the vegetables under the juice.
Leave a one-inch headspace in the top of the jar to allow for expansion.
Place the Fermentools fermentation lock on the jar. Set the jar on a plate to catch any overflow in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.
The food will begin to bubble within a day or two. The strength of the fermentation will cause the sauerkraut in the jar to rise.
The room temperature ferment takes five to seven days, depending on the ambient temperature.
When the sauerkraut sinks inside the jar, remove the fermentation lock and the weight and cover the jar with a normal lid. Refrigerate the sauerkraut for a week or two before eating. The flavors get better after a month.
When made properly the cabbage and vegetables are only mildly sour, with a hint of sweetness. Sauerkraut from Chinese cabbage is milder than sauerkraut made with regular cabbage.
Serve this as a side dish with Chow Mein or spring rolls. Top with ramen noodles for a probiotic lunch. Since this is milder tasting than traditional sauerkraut it goes well with milder tasting foods like chicken, white fish, rice, and noodles.
Don’t get caught without something you need. By purchasing the 12-Pack Fermentools, you are sure to always have enough fermentation lids for Mason jars on hand. And remember, you can always purchase the Himalayan powder salt separately.
Chris is a teacher, author, gardener, and herbalist with 30+ years’ of growing herbs and formulating herbal remedies, skin care products, soaps, and candles. She teaches workshops and writes extensively about gardening, crafts, scratch cooking, fermentation, medicinal herbs, and traditional skills on her blog at https://joybileefarm.com/home/ . Chris is the author of the The Beginner’s Book of Essential Oils, Learning to Use Your First 10 Essential Oils with Confidence and Homegrown Healing, from Seed to Apothecary. Her newest book is “The Beeswax Workshop, How to Make Your Own Natural Candles, Cosmetics, Cleaners, Soaps, Healing Balms and More” with Ulysses Press (2017). Chris is a contributing writer to The Biblical Herbal Magazine, The Fermentools Blog, and the Attainable Sustainable blog. Her books are available on Amazon. Chris lives with her husband Robin in the mountains of British Columbia on a 140 acre ranch where they raise lamb. They have 3 adult children and 3 grand daughters.