everyone thought that we, the globetrotters, were going to hate being holed up in there for two months.
well, the truth is… it was oddly refreshing. i wasn’t expecting it to be so soothing, and i think a big part of that stemmed from not having much to chose from. there was one of everything: one restaurant, one supermarket, three bakeries (this is portugal after all) — and that was enough. it was just pure simplicity, those unadorned, undemanding days where we did the only things we could do.
plus, our internet allowance was limited and thus kept strictly practical: no videos streaming, no music playing in the background, no images cluttering the pages. we did our job and then switched it off and went outside. the inbox got close to zero a few times. my skin regained a bit of its southern shade.
(i had the same feeling once, on a tiny apartment we stayed in where everything was white, clean and uncluttered from the usual paraphernalia that seems to sprout on every surface. no superfluous decorations, nothing in sight… everything was there, but hidden in its right place. i, the queen of messy desks, felt relieved, serene, in peace.)
of course we missed lots of things: friends. the convenience of online retailers, combined with the efficiency of deutsche post. our bed. reliable film shops. the café around the corner. diversity. proper internet. a quiet place to call our own…
but it was strangely refreshing to be away and really focused on a task. no main distractions going on. everything was secondary to the main goal and so every decision became easy, barely a yes or no process.
i don’t know if this makes sense for anyone else… i just wanted to remember this feeling.
our favorite summer activity: dipping our extremities into the ice-cold water of my parent’s water tank. bliss!
it all started with a podcast from the food program some months ago, in which they interviewed people who had read the art of fermentation and raved about how empowered they felt to give it a go, and how easy it was to ferment things… it was inspiring, so much so that i immediately dived into the book as well. after a few pages, i was already feeling the itch to roll up the sleeves and ferment something!
since we’re in germany, sauerkraut seemed like the obvious choice. i’ve sort of acquired a taste for it over the time we’ve been here, actually. i like to mix it with the salad for the hints of acidity that make it less boring, or just as a side for a dish of meat or the morning’s omelet.
before embarking on this endeavor, i researched fermentation vessels, and decided to go with my leftover fido jars from coconut oil. i never part with them when the coconut oil is over, just because they’re so handy, so i had plenty laying around. some people say fido jars weren’t really made for fermenting things and can explode (!) if they cannot release pressure, so just in case, i adjusted the tightness of the lid, making mine a little bit looser.
making sauerkraut is messy but unbelievably easy! all you need to do is to cut cabbage very thinly, add salt, and press it with your hands until the water comes out. then, pack it in the jar really tightly and add a weight on top to keep it submerged to avoid spoilage (i used a second, smaller jar). close it, and wait patiently without opening for 3-4 weeks. voilá! things will foam and overflow in the first few days, but after that the bacteria will quietly do their thing.
my first batch was plain — just a test to see if i could do it. when i opened the jar three weeks later, i could hardly believe how good it looked for something that sat on the window sill untouched for weeks… not even a bit of mould or slime in sight! oh, and the sauerkraut was crunchy and delicious! :D i immediately dived into batch #2, this time with cabbage + beets…
also a resounding success! i don’t usually like beets by themselves all that much, but this was really nice, with just a hint of earthy flavor and lots of crunchiness. and that color… magical!
i think i might be addicted to the process — there’s so much room for experimentation and it’s just so satisfying! for sure i’ll never buy another pack of dodgy supermarket sauerkraut ever again :D