Zodiac Fermentation: Aries Inspired Red Curry Sauerkraut
By Jenna Empey
Photo by Pyramid Ferments
Thank you for joining us on our fermentation journey through the zodiac! We will be expressing each zodiac sign’s characteristics through different fermentation recipes and methods. Today marks both International Astrology Day and the beginning of Aries season, so what better way to celebrate than with an Aries inspired Red Curry style sauerkraut.
Aries is the traditional first sign of the zodiac and also marks the Spring Equinox here in the Northern hemisphere. I think it’s a good way to start as Aries embodies much fiery and enthusiastic energy to express, so they can help us blaze a trail forward in our journey through the zodiac.
Aries can be bold, active and fiery conglomerations of burning desire. Impulsive, head strong, hasty; they thrive on getting things started, inspired and stirred up. They are the first to try a new direction and will take you with them on a wild adventure. But deep in the forest they’ll be happy to have you there with the food and matches you remembered to bring.
Magnetic and inspired, they leave an impression. They will always try, always take a shot at whatever they have set their sights upon. Nothing wagered, nothing gained and they will keep on trying for that thing; whether they should or not. They don’t admit defeat and aren’t as affected by failure as the majority of humans. This can be a blessing or a curse. Love and empathy; learning to understand other people and the consequences of their actions, are key to their sustainability.
Aries is represented by the Ram, a nod to their headstrong, head first approach to life. The Ram stands alone, empowered from within, undaunted by any obstacles. The Ram is also endowed with a magnificent set of horns which they use to engage and defend their energies and opinions. Sometimes they do this too well and end up alone because people give them such a wide berth and are wary of their impact. An Aries engaged seems to be essential in the best use of their boundless energy. They need to provide those horns something to lock into and focus on to prevent their energy from scattering.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Aries lately because there’s a missing piece of the puzzle for me. Aries is typified in any astrological write up as very aggressive, quick to anger, headstrong and stubborn. No mistake, I’ve met some like that and they leave a strong impression which can be quite negative. But there are more Aries I’ve met that don’t come off like that at all. They are direct and impassioned, driven but not aggressive and obsessive. Many can be quite shy or maybe they are still searching for that true connection and drive in life. But a description of their personalities and characteristics is missing from anything I’ve ever read on Aries. I’m totally rethinking this sign and I believe what has happened is the extreme Aries personalities have fire-washed the entire, collective understanding of the sign’s characteristics. History remembers extremes, so in short, a few jerks have ruined it for the rest of them. But we shouldn’t let ourselves be cheated and so misinformed. We should lock horns and engage, to better understand the full offering of this intriguing sign.
Mars is the ruler of Aries, the red planet we see in the sky. With a nod to Mars and to capture the Aries energy, we’re pleased to bring you our recipe for Red Curry Sauerkraut. We’ve blended cabbage with garlic, ginger, leek, hot pepper and lime zest to capture this layered and complex flavour. It’s got some heat but not too much. I didn’t want to go the common Aries route and ram you with overwhelming spice. When we prototyped this sauerkraut we tried some versions fermented with coconut because it’s part of the great flavours of red curry. We didn’t add it into the final version of the recipe but when you try this kraut it tastes like it’s in there! Maybe because the mind associates it so much with the other flavours, you think it’s present. So just like the phantom coconut flavour so it is with the missing understanding of a complete Aries; I can sense it but I can’t explain it…yet.
Photo by Pyramid Ferments
Yield: Makes a 1 Litre jar of sauerkraut
- Green Cabbage, 1 head
- Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt, 1-1/2 tsp (not coarsely ground or with added iodine)
- Garlic, Chopped, 2 Tbs
- Ginger, Grated, 2 Tbs
- Leek, Diced, 1/4 cup
- Cilantro, chopped, 1/4 cup
- LIme Zest, 1 tsp
- Juice of 1 lime
- Gochugaru or red pepper powder, 2 tbs
- Knife and cutting board
- 1 liter glass canning jar
- #13 Drilled rubber stopper w/ airlock or a food stoarage baggy filled with salted water
- elastic band
- A piece of fabric large enough to cover the jar (not cheese cloth)
- With one head of green cabbage, peel off the outer leaves. Quarter the cabbage, removing the core.
- Finely slice the cabbage into long, thin strips approximately 5” long and 1/8” wide.
- Add 10 cups of loosely packed, sliced cabbage into a sturdy metal or plastic mixing bowl.
- Add the salt, garlic, ginger, leek, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Mix, massage and squeeze with your hands until well mixed and the cabbage begins to let out some of its juices, approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure not to under or over mix or pound into mush as it will not ferment properly.
- Take a 1 Litre glass canning jar that has been cleaned, well rinsed and sterilized with hot water.
- Pack the mixed ingredients into the jar. Push and pack everything down until the brine rises over the top layer of cabbage. Fill up to the jar’s shoulders, do not fill to the very top.
- Wipe down the neck and rim of the jar and apply either a #13 drilled rubber stopper with an airlock or a double layered, food storage baggy filled with salted water to create a water weight on the surface of the sauerkraut. Secure it with an elastic band and cover with a dish towel or piece of fabric. Not cheese cloth!
- Place jar on a dish in case it overflows.
- Every few days, push the sauerkraut back down with the back of a fork until the brine rises back up.
- Ferment in 18-21 degrees Celsius for 7-14 days. Feel free to taste the sauerkraut every few days until it reaches your desired sourness.
- Once fermented, add a plastic jar lid and refrigerate. For optimum flavour, eat your refrigerated sauerkraut within 4 months.
Jenna Empey has over fifteen years of experience in organic agriculture and fermentation. Marrying the two, she began an artisanal business that would focus on the natural fermentation of foods and beverages. With a commitment to local food, innovation and experimentation; Pyramid Ferments has created an exciting and distinct product line of fermented foods and beverages, never before seen in Canada. Jenna is also the founder of the Ontario Fermentation Festival. When she’s not fermenting everything in sight you can find her in her tomato garden or under the moth light.
Curtido: Salvadoran Fermented Cabbage
We are taking a fermentation field trip with this recipe, with El Salavador’s version of fermented cabbage: curtido.
Zodiac Fermentation: Taurus Sauerruben
Grab this Taurus season by the horns, and ferment a Sauerruben, an Eastern European turnip dish perfect for adding a delicious earthiness to your food.