38 Weeks, 2 Projects, and $1 Hotdogs

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Happy 38 weeks. When Elizabeth first started making these numbers, she didn’t feel comfortable celebrating until we made it to 24 weeks, and then she would protest if I suggested making the next number before the actual day had arrived to celebrate because we might jinx it. Now that we’ve passed 37 weeks, we are intentionally making the numbers ahead of time to encourage him to make his exit/arrival.

The first of our projects was inspired by Bubbie, my long lost ex-grandmother’s sister-in-law. After revisiting our love for bratwurst, we decided to try out a different kind of sauerkraut – her recipe, which is made only with cabbage, salt, and artesian well water (note: not artisan). It was so tasty (and healthy) as a side dish that we decided to try and make it ourselves, in a manner not unlike wild yeast sourdough bread baking.

The first thing we had to do was find a food-grade plastic bucket. I called the Bonjour and Medici bakeries to no avail. We visited Ace Hardware and Treasure Island with no luck. Finally, we visited the deli at Hyde Park Produce, and received a just-emptied pickle bucket with a smile. Thank you!

While there, we purchased our main ingredients:

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We could not find an artesian well inside the grocery store, but then we remembered that our recipe does not call for water of any kind in its ingredients listing. “What does it ferment in,” did I hear you ask? The water already present but squeezed out of the cabbage itself.
First things first, we had to chop and properly place the cabbage.

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Then we had to squish the water out of it.

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Then you place a plate over the cabbage and weigh it down. It would be better if the plate were tighter fitting (the bucket’s sides are not straight), so that none of the cabbage can squeeze out, but I believe the main idea is to keep the cabbage below the water level, so it doesn’t have air contact, so if the plate keeps most of the cabbage down, we should be good.

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Weight, cover, and wait some more…

That was three days ago. Here we are today:

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Lots of cabbage water, bubbly. Apparently fermentation works between one week and a couple months depending on the temperature. We’ll probably try a bit after the first week this Saturday.

Bubbie would be proud.

(to be continued….)

~Eric

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