I'm sure you know at least one person who makes sauerkraut or a lacto-fermented pickle at home. If you don't, well, let me be that person for you. Or you could start being that person yourself, if you like sour vegetables. Which I do.
I'm crazy about sour flavors. I love kimchi. I love plain cultured yogurt. I dig cultured butter. And when I finally started eating sauerkraut - sometime in my 20s - I realized I really liked it. I'd even buy a jar of Bubbie's now and again, though I could never finish it.
And then Chelsey told me about Sandor Katz' Wild Fermentation, which I ordered immediately. Within 24 hours of its arrival I began making kraut. A simple one that took a couple weeks to ferment. I like it really sour - the longer the ferment, the more I savor it. I used Katz' basic recipe, which requires no lactic starter (some use whey from yogurt, some use a fresh whey made from cultured raw milk). I ate almost all of it paired with pupsusas (which are traditionally paired with curtido, a traditional Salvadoran "sauerkraut" that is made with vinegar and given a short fermentation).
This past fall I put by a few lacto-fermented vegetables: a celeriac kraut (pictured above), a fermented giardiniera, and a nappa sauerkraut with carrots. The giardiniera was the least successful - I didn't use enough salt and the lactobacillus really went wild and grew a redolent mold that reminded me of my time in the cheese mines. The celeriac was tasty and snappy, though I ended up giving it away to my friend Steve on the eve of my move from Chicago. I made it through most of the nappa sauerkraut before I left and still had enough for Steve. Given the freeze-thaw cycle of products transported in my car from Chicago to Boston, there was no way I could bring my pickled vegetables with me. Even a few raw potatoes I brought with me (don't ask me why) suffered through the journey.
Before I left Chicago, I bought a sauerkraut crock from a Polish hardware store on Chicago's northwest side for the bargain basement price of $49.99 (plus crazy Chicago tax). Had I thought about it, I wouldn't have packed it in my boxes for the movers to place in storage for the next few months. I'd like to get another batch going now.
In the meantime....
One of my favorite lacto-fermented products is Zukay's tomato salsa. All the good bacteria you want packed into a very tasty condiment that upwards of 63% of your friends and family will love. Apparently they have some lacto-fermented dressings in the hopper. Can't wait. I'm not much of a dressing gal, but I'll try anything sour. At least once.