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Fennel Lemon Mint kraut

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    Posted: 27 August 2018 at 11:21
In preparation for the FotW's Choucroute Day I knew I was going to need some good sauerkraut to go with it. I don't have much of my homemade stuff left and I'm not really a fan of store bought kraut, so I went on a search for a good recipe.

Ron and I are both big proponents of the Kraut Kit from Farm Steady, so I started there looking at their recipes. Now, I will say that some of their recipes need to be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended) but they are good starting points for getting ideas. Anyway, one of their recipes looked intriguing, Fennel Lemon Mint kraut. I thought it would pair very well with the Choucroute plate I was planning.  So I started shopping for the ingredients.

To my surprise it turns out fennel is hard to find in my town. It maybe that it's too early in the season as it seems fennel is from fall to early spring, but only 1 of the three grocery stores I went to had fennel, and they called it anise. With fennel finally in hand I grabbed the rest of the ingredients (mint leaves, a lemon and of course cabbage) and off I went.

Preparation is super simple. Slice the fennel and cabbage into narrow strips, and place them in a large bowl with 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt. Massage the salt into the fennel and cabbage to help break down the cells and get the salt in there pulling out the moisture from the leaves. Then add the bruised mint leaves and let it sit for 8-10 minutes.

In the mean time I got the fermenter out and gave it a quick wash and then a rinse with some StarSan sanitizer to make sure there were no bad things in there to ruin the fermentation process. I also sliced the lemon and removed the seeds then picked 8 of the best looking mint leaves and bruised them by rolling them between my hands.

After the 10 minutes was up, I lined the sides of the fermenter with half of the lemon slices and added the mint to the cabbage/fennel mix. Then I  started packing the cabbage/fennel in very tight, using my fist to push it in as much as possible. After it was about halfway full I put the rest of the lemon around the sides and on top of the cabbage, then continued to fill all the way to the top. By pushing and tamping it real good I was able to fit it all in, though it was right up to and maybe even into the neck of the jar a little. I added all the juice from the bowl and it wasn't quite enough juice to cover everything so I made a brine of 1 teaspoon kosher salt in one cup of water. Then I topped it of with the glass weight and added the brine until it covered the weight. 

Now we wait a couple weeks for the fermentation to finish.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 August 2018 at 11:28
Mike, that looks great ~ and I really like the presentation with the slices of lemon around the sides of the fermentation jar!

During the preparation, did you find that you needed to add any brine, in order to get the kraut completely submerged? With mine, I needed to add about a cup of brine, on top of the liquid that was produced and the cabbage leaf that I placed on top in order to hold everything down.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out for you - I can see this working really well for a lot of things.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 August 2018 at 11:51
Thanks Ron, I'm really looking forward to it too. I've never used fennel in anything before and was quite surprised at how pungent it was while cutting it. I'm thinking this should be really good kraut.

I did have to add about half a cup of brine to get it to cover the weight. I have a feeling if I had waited a bit longer the salt would have pulled more juice from the cabbage and I wouldn't have had to add any brine, but I was in a rush.

edit: I update the original post to add the brine information.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 August 2018 at 11:56
I am always in a hurry, too - and end up adding a bit of brine; no worries, though...the end results seem to be the same: great stuff!

This seems particularly well-suited for seafood or poultry, but not necessarily; the lemon and fennel fit the basic flavor profile for Porchetta, if I remember correctly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 10:21
This sounds lovely and I am a big fan of fennel and lemon .. 

Would be lovely for fish ..  A White fish that needed a kick !  

Going to prepare this now that I finished my cabbage for my Choucraute  .. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 10:24

In preparing the brine,  without a kit,  I have seen récipes for the Brine which include adding:

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice 
Water 
Salt 
Fresh Mint 

Are there any oher simple home made brines that you recommend without a kit  ?  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 10:40
Hi, Margi -

The kit is comprised of only the necessary equipment: the fermentation jar, a weight to hold the kraut down and an airlock to keep oxygen out.

You do prepare the brine yourself, simply with non-chlorinated water and non-iodized salt.

This video shows the procedure for making basic sauerkraut using the kit, which is very easy and paves the way for Mike's variation with lemon and fennel:

https://youtu.be/1k-LDM5TUu8




It would, of course, also work just as well with whole cabbage leaves for Romanian Sarma.

Since I believe that you already have the necessary equipment to make sauerkraut, you do not need the kit, but here is the recipe for making the Fennel-Lemon-Mint Kraut:

https://farmsteady.com/field-guide/recipe-fennel-lemon-mint-kraut

It is just as Mike describes in his post above.

Hope this helps -

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 15:57
Ron,  

Thank you so much ..  It has been a few years since I have made the Trout Choucraute ..  

The  Video  is fabulous ..   Informative and easy to follow ..

Yes, I have a Kraut Kit ..   

Thank you again ..  

I want to make the fennel lemon one .. 

I already have the light green cabbage fermenting  ..   


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 16:01
That sounds like a great plan...I think that this particular sauerkraut would go very good with a "Choucroute d' Truite."

If you make it, be sure to let us know how it goes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2018 at 16:45
Originally posted by Margi Cintrano Margi Cintrano wrote:

In preparing the brine,  without a kit,  I have seen récipes for the Brine which include adding:

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice 
Water 
Salt 
Fresh Mint 

Are there any oher simple home made brines that you recommend without a kit  ? 


I think your brine looks very good Margi, in fact the only difference with mine is that I used fresh lemon slices instead of juice. Depending on how you're preparing the trout, I might be tempted to add some fresh dill in the brine too, but then again I wouldn't want to muddle the flavors with too many things, so maybe not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 10:42
I definitely over filled my container. It's been pushing small amounts of brine out the top since the second day, and I've been dutifully cleaning it up and suctioning small amounts out of the airlock. But this morning it had pushed out so much that it overflowed the sides of the lid and made a big puddle on the counter. Oh well, at least I know the fermentation is still going strong. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 10:47
The same exact thing is happening with both my sauerkraut and my dill pickles, Mike. I over-filled both, too, and knew it at the time, but didn't think about the consequences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 15:10

Definitely ..  The traditional is  in jar ..

The Pitrow fennel tomorrow ( 1st ) ..

Shall definitely let you know ..  

Pitrow:  Could sub fresh dill herb for Mint  herb  !  

I shall sleep on this ..  

Thanks again Gentlemen ..  
Have a lovely weekend ..

I am preparing the Trout Choucroute !!!  With a Little French bacon .. See the Choucroute Section ..


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2018 at 10:47
I was in the kitchen making coffee this morning and I happened to glance at the sauerkraut and noticed that almost half of the kraut was out of the brine. While this did not surprise me much given how much Beine it had pushed out earlier in the fermentation I figured this signaled it was time to stop fermenting and can it up. I gave it a taste and not surprisingly it’s not overly sour yet. Given it’s only been fermenting for just shy of two weeks that was to be expected. However I think it’s a good thing. At this point you can still pickup the slight citrus tang of the lemon without it being over powered by the lactic acid. Also I think the less sour taste will go well with the dish I have planned. I did not pick up much mint flavor, actually I didn’t taste it at all. And the fennel, to me, gives not it’s typical licorice flavor but to me tastes more like cumin spice. Maybe that’s the fennel interacting with the mint, I’m not sure, but either way I like cumin a lot so it’s a good thing.

I can’t wait to use this stuff.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2018 at 16:45
Fascinating Pitrow ..  

Mine are only 1 week in jars fermenting .. 

Truly interesting ..   

Keep us up to date  !!!  Have a nice weekend ..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 September 2018 at 08:55
Mike - it sounds like things are moving along pretty well. I am guessing that the sauerkraut will continue to "mature" in the refrigerator to something a little more expected; but it also seems that the lemon, fennel and mint will continue to work their magic, as well.

Looking forward to seeing how it works with your Choucroute!

Ron
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