Here marks my foray into dehydrating sauerkraut and other fermented foods. I’ve had some mild success with making yogurt leathers, but now this is for serious. I’ve ventured out into the wild to experiment and see what flavors and mishaps I will encounter when ferments turn dry.
Fermentation in itself is a form of preservation similar to dehydration. So at first thought the idea of doing both may seem like overkill. How over-preserved do I need these foods to be? But there are many cultures that ferment foods, dry them and then grind them into a flour. Cassava is a good example of this. Fermentation is occasionally the first step to making a food edible and dehydration is what preserves or alters it into a ready-to-cook form.
More important in my taste experiments, dehydration alters flavor. Today’s inspiration comes from a dehydrated treat that I love: kale chips. The dehydrator transforms big kale leaves into crispy snacks. The last time I was eating kale chips, I began to wonder what sour cabbage chips would taste like. Kale chips taste different then fresh or cooked kale, so I could only imagine that dehydration would unlock some hidden flavors in sauerkraut as well.
The plan was simple: take freshly fermented sauerkraut, squeeze out as much juice as possible, lay the sauerkraut out on trays and dehydrate for an unknown amount of time. And surprisingly, it really was that simple.
In the end, I dehydrated the sauerkraut for 6 hours. The finished product was thin and shriveled strands of soured and salted cabbage. The sourness and salt were more pronounced, but not in a bad way. It actually tasted pretty good.
In the future, I will begin testing different flavor combinations. I think adding some spices or herbs to the fermented sauerkraut will enhance the snacking potential once dehydrated. I’m not ready to go so far as to ferment something as flavorful as kimchi, however, because I can imagine that would really stink up the house.
If you want to try making your own dehydrated sour cabbage crisps, just make sure that you have a lot of sauerkraut to spare. Considering that cabbage and sauerkraut are mostly water, the dehydrated crisps are small.
- Press or squeeze out juice from previously prepared sauerkraut.
- Place squeezed sauerkraut onto dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate for 6 hours at 125°F (50°C).
In the future, I will also experiment with larger cuts of cabbage with this recipe to see how that alters mouthfeel. If you don’t want shoestring crisps, then I recommend cutting the original cabbage into thicker pieces, similar to kimchi, before fermenting into sauerkraut. As they are, these thin crisps make an intriguing garnish for appetizers and entrees.
Let me know if you give these a try and whether you season or go plain.