Home made sauerkraut

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by tortminder, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. tortminder

    tortminder Well-Known Member

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    I posted a message in the sauerkraut thread here and referred to a recipe on my web site at;Free Citizen's Forum :: Traditional Ukrainian Fermented (lactic acid) Pickles

    A request was made to share the recipe so here it is. There are pictures of the various steps and methods at my web site.

    First I will tell you how to make it, then I will tell you why you should make your own and why you should eat fermented cabbage.

    -- Recipe --

    Sauerkraut

    Ingredients

    5 pounds cabbage
    3 tablespoons Sea Salt

    Instructions
    1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it.
    Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I never measure the salt; I just shake some on after I chop up each cabbage. I use more salt in summer, less in winter.

    2. Add other vegetables. Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables I’ve added include onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, turnips, beets, and burdock roots. You can also add fruits (apples, whole or sliced, are classic), and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, but anything you like will work). Experiment.
    Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.

    3. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.

    4. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.

    5. Leave the crock to ferment. I generally store the crock in an unobtrusive corner of the kitchen where I won’t forget about it, but where it won’t be in anybody’s way. You could also store it in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.

    6. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Many books refer to this mold as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. Skim what you can off of the surface; it will break up and you will probably not be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine. Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. In the cool temperatures of a cellar in winter, kraut can keep improving for months and months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid. Eventually it becomes soft and the flavor turns less pleasant.

    7. Enjoy. I generally scoop out a bowl- or jarful at a time and keep it in the fridge. I start when the kraut is young and enjoy its evolving flavor over the course of a few weeks. Try the sauerkraut juice that will be left in the bowl after the kraut is eaten. Sauerkraut juice is a rare delicacy and unparalleled digestive tonic. Each time you scoop some kraut out of the crock, you have to repack it carefully. Make sure the kraut is packed tight in the crock, the surface is level, and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below brine just add salted water as necessary. Some people preserve kraut by canning and heat-processing it. This can be done; but so much of the power of sauerkraut is its aliveness that I wonder: Why kill it?
    8. Develop a rhythm. I try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. I remove the remaining kraut from the crock, repack it with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

    Enjoy
     
  2. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    Thanks!

    I have not made kraut in years ... but ... I have it on the 'to do list' for next year. :D
     

  3. Concerned_ Citizen

    Concerned_ Citizen Well-Known Member

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    From what i have heard and correct me if im wrong, it was fermented cabbage that saved people from getting scurvy in the early days of trans-Atlantic travel on ships.....fermented cabbage is a very nutrient dense food
     
  4. tortminder

    tortminder Well-Known Member

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    Fermented cabbage is higher in vitamin C than citrus,(which is why it worked to curb scurvy).

    It is high in many nutrients, the naturally fermented lacto bacillus promotes health and digestion, (one of the original "pro-biotics) and the methane by-product can be used as a "green energy" fuel source!
    :2thumb:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. mrghostwalker

    mrghostwalker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info! I'm going to give it a try- just as soon as i can find a small crock.
     
  6. Concerned_ Citizen

    Concerned_ Citizen Well-Known Member

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    you dont need a crock......my wife uses the big sized mason jars currently because we can not currently afford crocks....

    its actually quite convent because they fit in the fridge easily..
     
  7. mrghostwalker

    mrghostwalker Well-Known Member

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    Actually I noticed that my slow-cooker has a good sized ceramic crock. I'll use that- since it just gathers dust most of the time.
    Dual purpose is always good!
     
  8. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Well-Known Member

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    If anyone has a source for proper kraut crocks, the ones I'm speaking of are a grey ceramic with blue glaze (sometimes) and 3+ gallons. . up to 6 is the largest I've seen. They were common in Germany when I was there as a kid, everyone nearly had a kraut crock, but I've only seen a few here.

    I believe they're in production again, somewhere generally in the North East, but lots of places are North East of me.

    So a glazed 4-5 gallon crock, new production, is going to be a lot of shipping.. I don't want to start with boutique pricing.. what works?
     
  9. tortminder

    tortminder Well-Known Member

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