Thursday, January 9, 2014

Science Fair

On the 17th, my Roo will enter her second school competition/demonstration... The annual Science Fair.
It's a big big deal.

In the summertime I was considering how much she adores sauerkraut, as she was heaping on loads of it onto her Home Depot Hot Dog Stand hotdog.  Which happens to be my kids' favorite kind of hot dog in case you were wondering.  As she was piling on more and more of it, I thought, "We should make summa dat."

Then came assemblies and open houses and school-year calendars etcetera, and it came to me as I read the words "Science Fair" across that Friday in January.  SAUERKRAUT.  So we developed an hypothesis based on what she knows about food going bad, how the refrigerator helps, and how Laura Ingalls might have kept food fresh without a refrigerator.  "Why doesn't cabbage rot when it sits in salt??"

Christmas break was a great time to start the stuff since it needs time to get all fermenty and lactic-acidy and stuff like that.  We started it on the 5th of January and we're hoping it will be nice and delicious on the day of the fair.

While perusing online, I came across this super-simplified explanation of the process and tutorial.  We read it together, writing down key words that we want to memorize and understand.  I wrote them out in a list and she copied them over and over while I chopped up the cabbage.  I've been researching other sites and books too, but I liked how this blog made it easy for me to explain the process to her!
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193124






It's pretty simple really.  You chop up a head or two of cabbage, removing the core first.
I sliced it into shreds and threw it in a huge bowl.
Roo sprinked some Kosher salt on it, and got to work "kneading" it all together, if you will.  Even if you won't.
It was hard work!

As your squeeze and press and smoosh it, it all starts to get pretty juicy.  The liquids are released and the girl's hands get tired and the mom finishes up for her.



(Please note appropriate attire for such activities as this.  Pajamas: The key ingredient to any successful sauerkraut production.)







We added coriander seed like the recipe said.  Why not.  YOLO.

Then you use a cabbage leaf to cover the top of the jar, and weigh it down with another jar full of water or something.  This makes sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in the liquid for the first day.  Over the next few days it makes more liquid and you don't have to worry.  So don't worry!

So there you go!  Cover it with a towel, check on it once in a while, and you're done!   I meant to start like seven more batches the next day, so people could taste-test it, but I didn't.  I'll have to try to today and hope it has some flava once the day comes.  We'll take some pictures later of how it's looking now, when she gets home to check up on her little project.  We'll also start a jar without any salt and hope it's not TOO repulsive in a week when we show the comparison of food preserved in the salt brine versus nothing at all!  Hopefully over the weekend we can review what we learned, the vocabulary words, and start putting together our presentation board.  She seems so grown up!!!!  I mean, it's the Science Fair!  Sheesh!

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