Cabbage

Sauerkraut. Spicy or plain it goes well with so many dishes. If you’re like me you like making your own from locally grown produce from you growers market.

Also, like me, you’ve probably tried any one of a number of recipes–may you’ve had some luck and then again maybe not.

Following is one recipe that works for me every time.

This is for a 5 pound batch and can be adjusted up or down for salt etc.

 

Using a nice freshly picked cabbage remove the outer leaves and then wash thoroughly. Drain off excess moisture.

Shred cabbage using either a cabbage shredder or a good sharp knife. I like using one of those knives that look a lot like a meat cleaver because the blade does not bend and it’s easy to handle.

Carefully weigh out 5 pounds of shredded cabbage.

Mix in 3 tbsp. salt–kosher or salt WITHOUT iodine and sprinkle over the cabbage. Mix in the salt well and then let sit for 15-20 to wilt a bit.

Pack tightly into either an enamel ware or stainless pot or a good ol fashioned crock pot. You don’t want to use a steel, un-coated pot as the salt will react with the steel and cause rust–this will ruin your cabbage. You need to really pack the cabbage tight--what you’re doing is squeezing out the air and the salty water in the shredded leaves becomes the brine needed for fermentation. I like to put the potted cabbage in a sink–this allows me to get above it and really apply pressure. You can use about any sturdy flat or rounded object as the press.  I just use my fist.

If you have more than 5 pounds you can add a second layer on top of the first. Just be sure to adjust the salt for quantity.

Sauerkraut pot

The squeezed brine needs to COMPLETELY cover the cabbage. Air bubbles trapped will ruin the batch. If after you’ve pressed and gotten as much water out of the leaves as you possible can and you don’t have enough brine to cover the cabbage you can add in enough water to cover the batch to an inch deep. This is important so make certain it’s completely covered.

Now you need to add a press to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine. I was lucky enough to have a stainless steel lid that fit inside the brine pot with about a 1/4 inch to spare—-perfect. I also had a plastic picnic plate that when turned upside down fit inside the lip of the stainless lid. I placed a piece of clean plastic over the top of this with plenty of overhang to spare–this keeps bug out.

 

Sauerkraut press

A one gallon milk  jug filled with water became my weight.

Gas bubbles escaping indicate fermentation is taking place. Complete fermentation will take 5-6 weeks. You’ll want to press the weight down once in a while to help keep the cabbage covered. Check it every 2-3 days for any “scum” floating on the top. Simply skim off any and let the process keep right on working.

Ideal fermentation temperature is roughly 70 deg. F.  When fermentation stops your sauerkraut is ready to bottle.

One pound of cabbage will nicely pack into a quart jar. As you’re packing is a good time to add in any spices/peppers etc. you like. If you place the peppers etc. on the bottom of the jar it’s easy to see what flavor you have.

Sterilize your jars and then process in a hot bath for NO more than 10 minutes. Remove from the boiling water. Finish sealing the lids and let them age for another 4-6 weeks.

Hope you enjoy your homemade sauerkraut as much as we do.

 

 

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks