Friday, August 17, 2007

Putting food by, or ; my basement smells like fermented cabbage

Presently, I'm obsessing over food storage and preservation. It's an offshoot of my whole trying-to-eat-locally obsession. And when I obsess, I go all out. In the words of Sylvia Plath:

Food Preservation is an art, like everything else
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

So, yeah. I'm obsessive. I just ordered "Putting Food By" from Amazon (to add to my small - but growing - food preservation library) and when I was at the coast I found and bought a book titled "Preserving Food without Canning of Freezing." I've started making my own vinegar (I have a slimy grey mother floating on the top of a bottle of local organic wine this very second!) and sauerkraut. I've already canned strawberry and marionberry jams, dill pickles and tomatoes. I've got bags of green beans, blueberries, roasted peppers, pastured beef and buffalo in my freezer.

The problem is, I think I may enjoy "putting food by" more than I enjoy the actual foods themselves. An example: sauerkraut. I adore sauerkraut, don't get me wrong. But the process of making real 'kraut is appalling in it's simplicity: You toss shredded cabbage with a few teaspoons of salt, then press it into a non-reactive (preferably ceramic) container for a month or two. The cabbage releases enough liquid to cover - which inhibits the bacterial growth. Lactic acid does it's work, and a few slimy weeks later, voila! you've got kraut.

Kraut is something my German ancestors probably always had on hand, because it stores well, and it tastes good. I know this. But my modern sensibilities still scream at me, every time I want to try a spoonful of homemade sauerkraut: "Ick! Why would you want to eat something that has been rotting on the counter for 2 months!"

So my point is - I have a full crock of kraut and no one to eat it.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Bring it to Spokaloo! I'll eat some!