The ketchup and kraut are done, and both got my seal of approval! Today I am sharing my recipes.
First of all, in order to lacto-ferment foods, you need some whey. I obtain my whey by draining yogurt through either a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Start off with some plain, unsweetened, whole milk yogurt (I opt for organic), and place the whole of it in a doubly-thick piece of cheesecloth. Suspend it over a bowl to catch the liquid. (I have previously tied my yogurt bundle to a wooden spoon and then balanced the wooden spoon on the edges of the bowl, with the yogurt hanging suspended inside the bowl, with a couple of inches of air space between it and the bottom of the bowl, so that the whey had plenty of room to collect.) That slightly cloudy liquid that collects in the bowl is your whey. As you can see from my picture, I splurged on a reusable coffee filter, which I set atop an inverted serving bowl inside my larger mixing bowl; in this system as well the whey dribbles down and collects at the bottom of my bowl. Allow your yogurt to drain for about 24 hours, and you should be left with a decent quantity of whey, as well as a rich, thick, and creamy yogurt cheese. The whey can be stored in the fridge for about a month, and used in all of your lacto-fermentation recipes.
For my ketchup, I started with Sally Fallon’s recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and then modified it slightly. She uses quite a bit of fish sauce, much more than I would like, so I cut the amount slightly to tone down the fishy taste of the ketchup. With the amount I used, the fish taste is not even recognizable. She uses maple syrup in her recipe, which I did not have on hand on fermentation day, so I opted for honey instead of making a special trip to the store. (And really, the only thing I ever used maple syrup for was dousing my pancakes, and I do not eat pancakes any more, so why go out and buy maple syrup?) I also upped the garlic content slightly because we love garlic in this house.
My Lacto-Fermented Ketchup
3 cups tomato paste
¼ cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ cup honey
4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce
Mix all ingredients until well blended and then place in a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar. The top of your fermenting ketchup should be at least one inch below the top of your jar (it needs some head room). Leave at room temperature for 48 hours before transferring to the refrigerator. Enjoy a natural and healthy condiment on your scrambled eggs and hamburgers, or whatever other foods you usually top with ketchup.
The recipe for sauerkraut is pretty basic, and here I follow Sally Fallon’s lead quite closely.
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
¼ cup whey
Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl. Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices (great for developing arm strength, or for anger management!). Place in a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar and use the pounder to press the cabbage down until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. Again, the top of your fermenting kraut should be at least one inch below the top of your jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 72 hours before transferring to the fridge. The kraut can be eaten immediately (which is usually what happens here), but it does improve with age.
I use a large crock for making my sauerkraut, instead of a mason jar. It allows me to make bigger batches (since kraut seems to go quickly in our house). Our kraut crock says ‘farine’ on the front, which is French for flour. Since we do not have any flour in the house, I thought that kraut would be a practical alternative use. And a much better use, if you ask me! After the fermentation stage I transfer my kraut to multiple mason jars for storage in the fridge.
I am sharing this post at Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist.