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Alice & Marlon's Simple Ginger Sauerkraut

Food

We’ve been waiting MONTHS to share this very special Tasty Tuesday series with you – a series of simple yet brilliantly inspiring recipes, from two of our favourite people!

Alice Johnson is The Design Files’ partnerships manager, and one of the sweetest girls we know, whilst her partner, Marlon Ziebell is a talented landscape architect. These two are a match made in heaven. They spend every spare moment at Marlon’s family property in South Gippsland, and when they’re not in the great outdoors, they’re preserving, pickling and fermenting an incredible array of food together, using mostly homegrown produce.

This month, this industrious pair will share a little of their passion with us, kicking off today with a deceptively simple yet intensely flavoursome ginger-spiked sauerkraut.

4th December, 2018

Alice and Marlon at Marlon’s family home in South Gippsland. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

A sweet guest-house at Marlon’s family home in South Gippsland. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Our darling Alice Johnson in the fruit orchard! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

You only need THREE ingredients for this amazing, super simple sauerkraut! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Marlon preps the cabbage. After slicing finely, it’s important to pound it vigorously with a rolling pin or pestle, or the the flat end of an empty wine bottle! You need to pound for about 10 mins, or until the cabbage has really softened and is all juicy and sitting in its own liquid. This brine is what helps the good bacteria convert the sugars and begins the fermentation process. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Marlon transferring the cabbage mixture into a large jar. You need to pack it down tightly, making sure that the cabbage is completely covered in its own brine.  Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The squeeze-test! Your cabbage should be very juicy, before transferring to a jar. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The sauerkraut will be ready after about 10-14 days – the best way to know when its ready is to taste it!  Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Alice Johnson
Tuesday 4th December 2018

‘The joy for us is in the making, knowing that when we’ve spent a whole day preparing a dish, the moment when we finally get to eat it makes it taste all the more delicious’ – Alice Johnson.

Food has always been a big part of our life, simply because we just love to eat amazing things! The joy for us is in the making, knowing that when we’ve spent a whole day preparing a dish, the moment when we finally get to eat it makes it taste all the more delicious. Being able to grow ingredients ourselves and know where it has come from, well, that just makes it even sweeter!

Cooking is a learning process and we are always trying out new things and are getting better along the way. We first started preserving out of necessity, simply because when you have an entire trees’ worth of fruit there are only so many jars of jam and crumbles that you can make (or eat!). We were gifted some of the re-usable Fowlers Vacola jars, and from there have never looked back. There is nothing more enjoyable than going into the larder in the middle of winter and pulling out a jar of preserved apricots – you can almost taste the summer sun!

These photos were taken at Marlon’s family home; he grew up in South Gippsland. It is the most incredible property, bursting with hundreds of fruit trees (including about 40 avocado trees!), veggie plots, a field of hops, a native flower field, and three handmade pizza ovens. When his parents found the property, it was literally an empty field without a single tree, and now after 25 years later and a lot of hard work, is one of the most beautiful, wild and magical places in the world.

Our recipes this month are all about preserving, pickling and fermenting. Where we can, we grow the produce that goes into them, but all these recipes use ingredients that you can buy from a local market (preferably when the ingredients are in season and abundant). Not only will they taste 100 times better, but they’ll also be cheaper!

Alice and Marlon enjoying Marlon’s famous Reuben sandwiches, with their homemade sauerkraut! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sauerkraut is having a moment. Not only is it incredibly delicious (like, eat it by the fork-full straight from the jar kind of delicious) but it is also incredibly good for you. It is teeming with good bacteria that your gut absolutely loves. You can buy sauerkraut from the supermarket, but we’re here to tell you that once you’ve had proper homemade sauerkraut you’ll never look back. This recipe is super easy, inexpensive to make, and the vibrant red colour just makes every meal beautiful, so is sure to become a staple in your fridge!

Ingredients (Makes Approx 4 jars)

1 large red cabbage (or 2 small ones)

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely

20g sea salt

Method

Sterilize all of your equipment (you can do this by submerging it in boiling water, or alternatively with a sterilising solution from the chemist)

Put aside 1 of the outer cabbage leaves for using later. Thinly slice the cabbage and place into a large bowl.

Add the ginger to the bowl of sliced cabbage. Weigh the cabbage and ginger together.

Once you calculate the cabbage and ginger weight, you now need to calculate how much salt to add. The weight of the salt should be between 1.5-2% of the overall cabbage weight, depending on how salty you like it. The easiest way to calculate this is to use an online calculator like this one!

Once you have weighed the salt, sprinkle it on cabbage mixture and toss through. Leave to sit for 5-10 mins. The salt will begin to draw out the moisture in the cabbage and start breaking it down.

Now comes the fun part! You need to start breaking down the cabbage, so find something heavy and flat that you can use to pound the cabbage in. We use the end of a wooden rolling pin, but I’ve also seen people use the flat end of an empty wine bottle. Pound away for about 10 mins, or until the cabbage has really softened and is all juicy and sitting in its own liquid. This brine is what helps the good bacteria convert the sugars and begins the fermentation process.

Once done, transfer the cabbage mixture into the large jar and pack it down tightly making sure that the cabbage is completely covered in its own brine. Cover the top with the cabbage leaf that you put aside at the start, and weigh it down with something heavy so that the cabbage stays submerged in brine. We use a glass jar filled with water. Place a lid on the jar and transfer the jar to a dark place (like a spare room or pantry).

Check on the cabbage every day, releasing the gas to ensure it doesn’t build up (which is called ‘burping’).

The sauerkraut will be ready after about 10-14 days, though, the best way to know when its ready is to taste it! Depending on the weather it can take shorter or longer, though when it’s done it should have a pleasant aroma and be absolutely delicious!

When done, transfer it to smaller jars and store in the fridge for up 6 months.

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