Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sauerkraut Anyone?

My husband and I went to the Delano Community on Saturday and picked up lots of fresh vegetables including a box of cabbage. My husband has wanted us to make sauerkraut for some time. Our own cabbages are not ready yet and we wanted to try making sauerkraut. I made kraut with my grandmother when I was a child, but her method was different in that she cooked in a pressure canner prior to storing for the winter. We wanted to try the traditional method. It's an unbelievably easy thing to do and I found these resources helpful.  Wild fermentation and How to Make Your Own Saurkraut. I also found recipes that offered options like the addition of juniper berries, caraway seed and mustard seed at Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar.
This box had already had three cabbages removed for processing when I thought to get the photo. Also the Mennonite Community recycles cardboard gathered boxes gathered at local supermarkets. 

 I don't think any of these cabbages weighed less than 7 lbs. and the largest was more like 12 lbs
We started with the basic recipe and instead of putting into a five gallon bucket, we used mason jars, which is what I'm used to and it also keeps portion sizes easy to manage. We used the basic recipe and dumped Granny's canning method.
Finely chop the cabbage and mix w/ salt.        

It is important to use canning salt or salt that does not have iodine because iodine will stop the fermentation process.
Because of limited space, we would pack a few jars then, chop some more cabbage and mix w/ salt.

Filled jars w/ filtered water. Cap and set aside for 2-3 weeks to ferment.
 Be sure to use filtered water or to let your tap water stand for about 24 hours prior to using to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Chlorine interferes w/ the fermentation process.

The kraut has started bubbling away. We still have several heads of cabbage, so I plan to try one head w/ the additions of spices as well. I am thinking of using the rest to make chow chow, this is pickle relish using cabbage that is popular here and maybe trying kimchi. I'll post updates as those projects are completed.

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