The first people to cultivate vanilla were probably the Totonaca people of Mexico. They wore vanilla beans in their hats and used it to perfume their homes.
During the 18th century, vanilla was recommended by physicians and alchemists to be drunk as a tincture to ensure male potency. And women dabbed vanilla tincture behind their ears and on their wrists as a seductive perfume.
- 2-1/2 cups (600 ml) filtered water
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons (22.5 ml) sea salt
- 3/4 lbs (338 g) cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 1/4 lb (113 g) pearl onions, peeled
- 1 vanilla pod*, sliced in half lengthwise to reveal the seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) cocoa nibs
1. Bring the filtered water to a boil. Pour into a glass, stainless steel, or ceramic bowl and dissolve the salt to make a brine. Allow the brine to cool completely before using.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a quart-size mason jar.
3. Pour the brine into the jar until there is enough to cover the mixture by one inch (2.5 cm).
4. Place Kraut Source onto the jar. Allow to ferment for 5 - 7 days in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight. Check every few days that there is water in the moat, and top off as needed.
5. When the ferment has achieved a taste to your liking, remove Kraut Source and replace with a standard mason jar lid and ring. Transfer to the refrigerator. Your ferment will last for two weeks in the refrigerator.
Note: If your kitchen is warm, 80F (27C) and above, 3 days may be sufficient. Do a taste test on day three, and ferment longer if needed.
*I use vanilla pods from LaFaza because they work directly with farmers in Madagascar who use sustainable methods.