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shiitake-burdock kraut2

I wanted to spice up my sauerkraut, so I made a batch with burdock root and shiitake mushrooms. Not only do these additions give the kraut a nice nutty flavor, they also boost its health benefits. Like sauerkraut, burdock has natural antimicrobial properties and promotes healthy digestion (in other words, it keeps you regular). Shiitake mushrooms help fight cancer and boost the immune system.

burdock and shiitake

Here they are on the chopping block. Burdock, also called gobo, often comes with a little dirt still on it. It’s a good idea to give it a gentle but thorough brushing under running water before you prepare it. I’ve also found that the organic variety has a much more complex and pleasing flavor than the conventional root, which tends to grow large and woody.

burdock and shiitake chopped

Chop those babies up! Thin slices are best and I like to cut the root at an angle.

cabbage, burdock, and shiitake mixed

Mix them with your shredded cabbage, adding 3 tablespoons of salt per 5 pounds of cabbage. For more details on sauerkraut preparation, look back to the extra good kraut recipe. I tried to use a good amount of mushroom and root without overwhelming the cabbage, but there’s no perfect ratio between them. Use as much or as little as you like. Once you’ve got the veggies coated with salt, press them and then pack them in a jar or crock with a weight on top (see the kraut recipe for details and read the post on safely storing your pickle during fermentation for even more tips.

shiitake-burdock kraut3

Here it is, a few weeks later and ready to eat.

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Kraut in a bowl
I’ve always considered pickling an art and now I have some justification. My sauerkraut will be part of the art exhibition Non*Mart, opening November 6 and running till January 15, 2010 at Y2Y Gallery at 251 Balboa Street in San Francisco.

The theme of the show is bartering and everything on display will be available for trade, including the kraut. Come taste samples of it fresh and alive at the party from 6 to 8 pm on the opening day. I’ll have more ready to trade, and I can always make more.

I got inspired to apply to the show after starting a happy trade with Clare Judith Bowers for one of her paintings.

Here’s the flyer, click for a larger size:

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