Photo by Pixabay/HOErwin56
Makes 4–6 cups | My brother Louis is handy with the fermentation. He’s good at wine and beer and such. And, like our grandfather Ludwig, for whom he is named, he makes the kraut. Lately he has gone high end on the low tech: “One needs to have a fermenting crock for the following technique. Without one, using a glass crock with an airlock will work as well to assure the air and other contaminants do not get to the fermenting vegetable matter.” His current food of choice for fermentation is the dandelion. I tried to get him to pick mine, but no go.
While dandelions did not originate in the Upper Midwest, people here took to them pretty quickly. Most of the cookbooks from American Indian communities mention cooking dandelion greens or using tender young leaves in salads. None of them mentioned making dandelion kraut.
- 4 cups tender dandelion greens
- 4 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- few tablespoons starter or juice of live kraut, optional
- 4–6 cups salt water (about a 2 percent solution)
Rinse the dandelion greens well and spin or gently towel dry. Toss the dandelions and cabbage with salt and spices, and let stand for a couple of hours. Toss starter (if using) with the dandelions and cabbage and then place mixture in fermenting crock with any and all juice that has accumulated. Add enough salt water to nearly cover the dandelions and cabbage. Place crock weights over the top of the mixture. If after a few hours the weights are not covered in water, add additional salt water until covered. Cover and seal the fermenting crock and let the lacto fermentation occur for a few weeks. Sample for level of crispness and sour flavor. When you like the taste, the kraut is done.
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Cover courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Press
Reprinted with permission from Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest by Heid E. Erdrich, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. The Minnesota Historical Society Press is on Facebook and Twitter.