Some 35 years ago I stumbled on a German Cookbook at the equivalent of a yard sale. It had been printed decades earlier. It was a ropey looking paperback that had been translated into English. At that point in time I collected cookery books, and this seemed like the ideal addition to my 300 other books on the culinary arts.

It was several days before I found time to delve into this hidden gem about cuisine from another country. The introduction explained that all ingredients mentioned should be easy to find in your local store.

I was hooked, and started to read. I was enthralled about the tips on cooking Bear, apparently Bear is somewhat greasy and this book had a foolproof recipe for dealing with that issue. As I recall it was a multi staged event, boil it, roast it, then stew it. I checked my local supermarket, but could not find any Bear.

blackbear
The next chapter concentrated on Beaver Tails. The recipe sounded yum, but I was pretty certain that my local Safeway would be fresh out of Beaver Tails. In fact I can honestly say that in the ensuing 35 years I have never seen Beaver Tails in any store I have visited, and I like to visit the unusual ones.

beavertail

Finally I found a recipe that had ingredients that were easy to find. While I am not a fan of Sauerkraut, the idea of making homemade (real) certainly sounded interesting. I can however only surmise that the author was planning on a big party.

Step 1, you need a large tin bath.
tinbath

Step 2 drag the tin bath to a sunny part of your property.

Step 3, fill the tub 2/3 full of fresh Cabbage. Don’t bother trimming off any bad bits, it will be fine. The book recommends a minimum of 150lbs.

cabbage

 

Step 4. Add some water, maybe up to ½ way up the tub. As the making of Sauerkraut involves a fermentation process, it is best to use water from the local pond rather than the tap. You need the natural bugs to get the fermentation going.

Step 5, sprinkle with 5 pounds of salt.

Step 6, cover the tub with a sturdy tarpaulin and leave it untouched for 7 days.

Step 7, eat and enjoy.

The next time you eat Sauerkraut ask if it is the real thing, or just something out of a jar….

Simon Barrett

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