Oh, cabbage. Your vitamin C saved sailors from scurvy. You fueled the conversation between the Walrus and the Carpenter. You were Roman bar food. You inspired a line of cute dolls my parents never bought me. The Chinese pickled you back when they were building the Great Wall. The Tartars took the pickling idea west, where it thrived in places like the market down the street from me in Hungary (where three competing pickle-ladies offered me abundant free samples), and in Germany where my ancestors hid in caves and anabaptized each other with sauerkraut. Nowadays I can't eat pork chops without craving a little something tangy and wrinkled and gray.
So today we made sauerkraut --the oldfashioned, non-vinegar kind that bubbles away in a dark cupboard. I slivered it thin while W. Crawford smashed it with his fists. I added half a cup of whey and two tablespoons of coarse sea salt (double the salt if you don't have whey), and packed it in two peanut butter jars, which hold more than a quart each. With the juices covering the cabbage shreds, we screwed on the lids and set them to bubble away in the cupboard -- along with another quart of yogurt suspended in cheese cloth to make more whey for next time. The plan is to make sauerkraut once a week, so that we have a steady supply. It takes several days at room temperature, and then several months in cold storage to reach its full flavor potential -- though we shall undoubtedly consume at least one jar within the next 72 hours.