We eat something in my family we call Salted Cabbage. At least that’s what we call it in Russian, it sounds a little funny when I translate it to English. It’s pretty much like sauerkraut but it’s less fermented and it has carrots in it. And since I just got a brand new pickling crock, I had to make some. Also, I finally got my hands on some elusive white cabbage. You can find green cabbage anywhere, but all of the cooks in my family warned me, you can only make salted cabbage with white cabbage.
This was my very first batch of Salted Cabbage. Well, I did make some a few months ago under the strict supervision of my mother, but that doesn’t count. This was my first batch by myself.
It turned out great, very crunchy and lightly sour. I can say that now. But the “aroma” in the pantry over the last few days, let’s just say it was not so great.
3 ½ pounds shredded white cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
2 small bay leaves, lightly crushed
10 allspice berries
12 black peppercorns
2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mash with your hands, a sauerkraut stomper, or potato masher until the cabbage wilts and exudes juice. Transfer to a pickling crock, packing it in as tightly as possible. Apply a weight, making sure that all of the cabbage is completely submerged beneath the brine. Cover loosely and let ferment at room temperature for 4 to 6 days, or until the desired sourness.
Makes about 2 quarts. If, for some reason, mashing the cabbage with the salt does not create enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage once it’s packed into the crock, you can make additional brine. Simply boil some water, add kosher salt until it tastes slightly salty, and let cool. Add just enough to completely cover the cabbage. If any white matter appears on the surface during fermentation, do not be alarmed; it’s perfectly harmless yeast. Just skim it off. Fermentation time depends on the ambient temperature, so it may take 4 days in the summer and as long as 6 days in the winter. Keeps for weeks tightly sealed in the refrigerator. If you don’t have a pickling crock with a weight, use a glass or stoneware jar that’s large enough to accommodate the cabbage plus the bubbling of fermentation. Weigh the cabbage down with a plate topped with a tightly sealed jar filled with water. Look for white cabbage in Asian markets. Salted Cabbage is yummy straight up, and it’s great anywhere you might want a pickle, like on a sandwich or in potato salad.