Sauerkraut, formerly what eccentric Northern European uncles ate with their rye bread, blue vein and pickled herring, has in recent years become the unlikely hero of a gut-challenged generation.  Feting the famous fermented cabbage dish Fair Food is holding Krautsourcing Day; a Melbourne-wide kraut-making celebration next Saturday Oct 8th.

Now to the uninitiated fermenting a cabbage can present like one of those mysterious food skills such as cheese making or sourdough baking. There’s a magical element that requires communing with higher food powers. But like all transformational food journeys there comes a point where you just have to take a leap of faith or several leaps of faith.To find some sauerkraut leaping-in inspiration I talked to somebody who has travelled the cabbage green road many, many times – Georgie from Soul Strength Ferments in Anglesea.

Like so many people who find their way into the realm of ferments Georgie came to sauerkraut through a health crisis.

Every meal, I used to get bloated and eating was difficult for me. My  poor mental and gut health got me exploring and it just opened up a whole world of people, doing this stuff, trying to help themselves.  These days I eat sauerkraut with every meal and I find it makes foods easier to digest and has let me become a lot more creative with food.

What was it that drew you to sauerkraut?

Just everything I was into at the time; gardening, permaculture, food, health – sauerkraut seemed to tick all the boxes. It’s not just a food, it’s a world inside a jar.  And it has also helped create a connection here in Anglesea which I can’t describe – all of a sudden I’ve become part of a community. 

Over the years Georgie had worked in many Melbourne food business, including her parent’s famous bakery, Keith’s Pies in Richmond but never felt she belonged.  That was until a nervous move to Anglesea with partner, Johnny, changed everything.

Before I started Soul Strength I was quite isolated, I had no roots. The people here (in Anglesea) really want to support you, they want you to succeed.  Before my first market it was terrifying, I was saying I’m not ready, I’m not ready.  But people here hold you up, they just wont let you fail.

These days Georgie is a regular at markets down the Great Ocean Road and also sells into a couple of Melbourne stores.  The batches of sauerkraut have become bigger and bigger and Georgie’s Mum and Dad are returning the favour of her years helping out in the family bakery by coming down to help cut cabbage.

There was just so much cabbage that Dad rang the current owner of Keith’s Pies and he gave us a Robocoup food processor to help out. 

To make great sauerkraut Georgie says go with your intuition –

All flavours can make great kraut – try to incorporate herbs and spices you know your body needs. The other thing is you have to wait and you never know quite what you’re going get.

Sauerkraut’s been good to Georgie but it’s just a starting point.  After experiencing a few cabbage shortages Georgie and Johnny are looking to buy land to grow their own. It’s the next leap of faith; putting down a few more roots in her new home town.

You can find Georgie’s sauerkraut here and you can find the more info on Krautsourcing Day here.  If you want to get into contact email Monique on (that’s her making sauerkraut in the pic above).

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