Look at this picture of sauerkraut!
I know, it looks like a common German barrel with sauerkraut. The difference is that this barrel is very big, and it really serves to store sauerkraut, not only to display it.
The video below should give you an idea what I mean. Notice that the lady selling the sauerkraut doesn’t care too much about the presentation. You can easily see that there was no effort at all put into making the stall look presentable. She treats this beautiful barrel just like practical equipment.
Of course, I would prefer OBH to bring a reusable container with him to reduce the plastic waste. I am far from complaining, though. In fact, his gesture has touched me deeply; it was a bit of a challenge to take the footage, especially as it involved obtaining the selling lady’s permission. According to OBH, she was a bit concerned about being featured on a blog. He had to assure her he would purchase all the sauerkraut used for presentation (what went into the bag, not in the barrel, I guess…)
He also shot cucumbers!
This was really heroic of him because he had to arrive in his mother’s home with a bag full of fermented cucumbers. It must have looked a bit strange as she herself is an avid fermenter.
See what she keeps on the kitchen windowsill
This shows the Polish attitude to fermenting. You just grab an ordinary cooking pot and do it. No special jars, no airlocks. Just a plate to weight the veg down and allow for a bit of circulation. Note the layer of yeast on the brine surface. It isolates the cucumbers from the air and it has nothing to do with mould. Mould looks like strands or threads rather than a layer, and stinks.
Don’t think that a windowsill is a common place for fermenting in Poland. It is just handy in Summer to have the fresh supply of cucumbers in your kitchen; remember they are the best exactly on the third day.
Normally, fermenting takes place in a CELLAR. I wrote already that even huge apartment blocks have cellars divided into small “cubicles”.
It provides the perfect conditions for fermenting; it’s dark, and the temperature is stable all over the year.
Going back to a food market…
The spices for cucumbers are sold in ready made bunches, which I painfully miss living in Ireland.
A bunch is made of dill (with umbels), garlic, horseradish root and horseradish leaf. However, with a bit of luck you can also buy one with a cherry or vine leaf.
That’s not all yet!
Look, what OBH found on display in Malbork Castle:
According to the description, it is a replica of an at least 500 years old sauerkraut shredder. I wouldn’t mind owning one like that, to be honest.
I hope, now you know what to look for when you go to Poland one day. Well, I don’t exactly recommend visiting apartment block’s cellars; at least, not unannounced.
However, I would love you to go to a food market to smell the barrel with fermented cucumbers…
Thank you for reading my blog!