Tribal Knowledge

Sauerkraut – in process, both ingredients – salt and cabbage

It’s an amazing thing; a gift from one generation to another, knowledge passed down by example and word-of-mouth.

In the manufacturing plant where I work, it is prized. What tools work best for which jobs, how to handle certain components. The work instructions lay out the basics but it is the experience of those who have done the work for years that really educates me on the finer points of my job.

Just as much, we have a lot to learn from the generation that has gone before. They can teach us what has taken years for them to acquire. If only we would listen.

Wearing a mask says I care about your grandmother, mother, aunt, grandpa. Some go bare-faced as if to say my rights are more important than your elders. Ouch.

I counter this by treasuring the tribal knowledge I have access to and documenting what I am able, not on the work front, but with my elders.

As you may know, I am slowly losing my mother to dementia.

It is amazing – she cannot recall the conversation from 20 minutes prior, but click here to have her recall her mother’s sauerkraut making https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wRU34e7Z58

In honor of my grandmother, I am making sauerkraut this year, having received two heads of cabbage in my CSA from Lyman Orchards https://lymanorchards.com/csa/

I have made it before and like it much more than store bought. It is also really good for gut health. http://www.eatingwell.com/article/281916/7-must-eat-fermented-foods-for-a-healthy-gut/

If you are home-schooling, it is a science project as well and an easy project for kids of every age. It is so simple and delicious!

Shred your cabbage.

Salt your cabbage.

Store your cabbage.

Shred or cut as finely or coarsely as you desire. Sprinkle with salt and toss it around to disseminate it throughout. Press it into a crock with lid or jar. Tamp it down often throughout the first day. Add to it and tamp daily. The fermentation originally starts around day three and you can see it. Mine sits on my counter.

I think of a 10-gallon crock. My grandmother was feeding 10 children! None of them had Crohn’s, or allergies, or irritable bowel syndrome. Were those diagnoses even around?

This is an antique gallon jar. Look closely; the cabbage at the bottom has been there for more than a week. I have added a new head on top.

I have mixed both savoy cabbage and a traditional head in this jar. Later, I plan to shred some carrots and onions.

Do your own thing! Some people add caraway seeds; that is a classic recipe.

Either way, any way, consider it homage to the homemakers and farmers who came before.

Thank you, Eva and Evelyn.

By Catstrav

Reindeer handler. NDT tech. Mother of four. Aspiring astronaut.