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I'm looking for a sauerkraut recipe. I've tried making one previously, but it didn't turn out quite right. Anyone have a foolproof or near to it recipe that they'd like to share?
 

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That would be awesome. Cabbage is only .25/lb right now and Brussels sprouts will go on sale soon, too.
 

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4 cups cabbage
1.5 cups water
1/4 cup salt
4 diced red peppers.
toss and let ferment.
 

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5 Lbs. Shredded cabbage
2 oz canning salt
carraway seeds to taste.
I mix it in a tub first then pack it in my bucket.
I have got some good compliments on my kraut.
 

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My family has made sauerkraut for as long as anyone can remember, I think one of my ancestors brought the "know how" to Texas during the German Migration in the mid 1800's.

We always made it in a 5 gallon crock. All utensils, including the crock, should be sterilized.

For a 5 gallon crock it takes about 40 or so pounds of cabbage. The tough green outer leaves should be removed, washed and set aside(will get to that), the butt end of the cabbage should be cut flush with the bottom of the head.

Slice the cabbage in about 1/4 inch thick slices, the hard pith or center of the head can(and should IMO) be left in the head.

When all the cabbage has been sliced, start filling the crock in layers about 4 inches thick and toss in a small hand full of non iodized pickling salt. Form a fist with one hand and "punch" the layer down and work the salt in, a brine should form as you pack each layer.

Taste the "Juice" and it should be about the same saltiness of sea water, if it is not, add more salt. Repeat the process until the crock is full to about 6 inches from the top.

Their should be enough juice formed to completely cover your hand when you put it palm down and press.

Take the leaves that were set aside and lay them over the top layer of cabbage until they cover all the liquid that was formed and the top leaves are dry. Toss another handfull of salt on the top of the leaves and don' work it in.

Put a saucer or small plate on top of the leaves and place a weight on it to hold the leaves down, my great grandmother always used a brick for a weight, my grandmother used a bag of water. Just about anything you use that gets the jo done is sufficient.

Add enough water to the crock to completely cover the leaves to a depth of 2 or 3 inches. The water will need to remain at that level throughout the fermentation, dont let the top leaves go dry.

Cover the crock with a kitchen towel and tie it securely so no bugs can get in. If they do get in they "WILL" ruin the batch.

Set the crock in a warm but not hot place, to ferment, it needs to be between about 75 to 90 degrees. If the temp is below about 75 the kraut may not "sour", if it does not, you can add vinegar to gaste instead of throwing the batch out.

It takes about 4 or 5 weeks for the batch to make, and regular checks should be made to ensure that the liquid stays above the layer of leaves. My grandmother would just pour water through the cloth to and not open it up and take a chance of bugs getting in. Remember the crock has to "breath" for the the batch to make.

It will stink(really bad sometimes) so take that into consideration when you decide where to set it to ferment.

A good batch of kraut will grow a mold layer over the green leaves that were put on top of the shredded cabbage, it is a good thing. It gives the batch a flavor the same way the mold on cheese works. If it does not have a mold layer on it, "yu dun sumpen rong". A portion of the mold can e put in a bag and frozen to jumpstart the next batch you make, similar to the way the "mother" works when making a batch of vinegar.

When the fermentation finishes, remove all the mold down to where the cabbage is firm and start filling your jars from there.
 

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Shred cabbage, pack half way into sterile jars, place 1 T canning salt, fill jar with cabbage, pour boiling water over and stick a knife into the jar to get out all air bubbles, add water if needed. Place rings and sterile lids on jar. Wrap in newspaper and let sit in dark place for 3-4 months. Use as needed. It is excellent tasting and easy.
 

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Shred cabbage, pack half way into sterile jars, place 1 T canning salt, fill jar with cabbage, pour boiling water over and stick a knife into the jar to get out all air bubbles, add water if needed. Place rings and sterile lids on jar. Wrap in newspaper and let sit in dark place for 3-4 months. Use as needed. It is excellent tasting and easy.
I have never been able to make kraut like that. I can make it in a large crock, but every time I try the boiling water method, it just rots. I think I'm jinxed.:eek:
 

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I sure hope I'm doing this right. First shot at submitting a post. I just wanted to give you this recipe I found in an old cookbook titled "Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking". Looks like this edition was published in 1959.
Glass Jar Sauerkraut
A good way to make delicious crisp sauerkraut in small quantities that will keep for months. An excellent appetizer.
Use tender firm sound cabbage heads. Let stand at room temperature a day to wilt a little so cabbage will not break when shredded. Trim off outer leaves to obtain clean heads, then wash quickly in cold water. Cut heads in half, then shred on kraut cutting board. Pack shredded cabbage into clean glass jars, tamping down with a clean wooden spoon. Fill the jar full so when lid is on there will be no air space at top of jar. Add one teaspoon pure coarse salt and one teaspoon sugar to each quart jar, then add boiling water to just cover cabbage. Jars should be only partially sealed for first three or four weeks. Set in a cool, dark place. Some juice flows out during fermentation. Refill jars after 2 weeks with brine made by adding 1 tablespoon salt to 1 pint water. Seal tight and let fermentation continue. The best kraut results when jars are kept at a temperature of 70 degrees or a little lower for perfect fermentation. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for kraut to cure perfectly.

That's it, word for word, from the cookbook. I'm a bit confused about the part saying to only partially seal for first three or four weeks, but then it says to add the brine after two weeks and seal tight? Maybe someone else has some experience making it this way and could clarify that part. I've canned jellies, jams, veggies, but never attempted sauerkraut yet. Good Luck! Let us know if you find something that gives you good results.
 

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More jar kraut
I made my first 5 quarts of mason-jar kraut yesterday tweaking a couple of recipes. If the result is good I'll let everyone know! 2 lbs cabbage (approx)+1-2 tsp pickling salt per 1 c. water per quart jar wanted.Sterilize all bowls utensils and jars and cleanse hands well before starting.10 juniper berries ( a surprise but traditional!)and 1 tsp mustard seed and 1 tsp caraway seeds per jar/2 lbs cabbage....a bay leaf too if you like that flavor. Soak cabbage in salt&spice water for an hour or more til good and wilted then pack in sterlie jars with lids loose. Put jars in tray to bubble ferment for several weeks... as juice bubbles out dump the tray, replace lost juice in jars with salt water to fill to brim- 1 tsp salt per 1 cup water.The Ball Canning books says AFTER fermenting they can be switched to new sterile jars for hot or cold pack water bath canning for long term. HA! After sharing all this I hope it works! I can say it starts smelling like nice kraut just overnight!

update 7-22-2012: We decided to eat our first meal with this and it was EXCELLENT! OMG What Flavor!!! I just keep learning that usually even at a First try Home Made Is Always The Best! I guess I'll can 3 of these but gee,we might just eat 'em up!
 

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When I was a wee lad I remember visiting a family who came from Eastern Europe and their son led me out to the workshop and they had vats of sauerkraut fermenting away. Well, maybe not vats, but big barrels of the stuff. The family always gave my family a dozen quart jars of the stuff. I can't even imagine how much they produced.

Here my recollections get hazy. I think that they only pressure canned some it and the rest they kept in the barrels and just helped themselves whenever they had a hankerin' for some good ole sauerkraut. Does that ring true? Can kraut be kept like that for months after fermentation has stopped?

Also, does anyone here have any experience in making HUGE batches of the stuff?
 

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I made some fermented vegetables (lettuce, carrots, zucchini) a couple of years ago and discovered I don't like the taste of fermented veggies all that much. What can I season them with to improve the flavor. Add some garlic, fer shur. What else?
 

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I made some fermented vegetables (lettuce, carrots, zucchini) a couple of years ago and discovered I don't like the taste of fermented veggies all that much. What can I season them with to improve the flavor. Add some garlic, fer shur. What else?
Heehee, bet you got a sweet tooth don't you? The 'lacto wang' (lactic acid) of lacto fermented foods ain't for everyone; it's a shame though, they are a very nutritious probiotic food. The fermentation process actually ADDS to the nutritional value of the original in it's raw state. The best way to use them is as a condiment.

Garlic, onion, mustard, oregano, citrus juice, dried pepper, black pepper and many others lend themselves well to fermentation as spices. AND, this is a biggie, recent experiment of mine indicates STEVIA acts as an excellent sweetener with lacto fermented foods, it doesn't convert during the fermentation process. Sucrose converts to more lactic acid, Stevia stays, well, Stevia. So, maybe there is hope yet for you and fermented foods!

[edit to add] Sally Fallon's book 'Nourishing Traditions' has some good fermented recipes with a variety of spices used.
 

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It all depends on what you want in a kraut. The best kraut, IMO, is pounded (I use a hickory hammer handle) to the point that it is submerged in it's own juices. Per quart: 1 TBSP salt, 1 TBSP honey (converts to more lactic acid to make it 'krautier') and 3-4 TBSP whey as a starter guarantees an outstanding low sodium crisp sauerkraut (crisp if eaten raw, egad, it would be a sin to kill those good bacteria by cooking).

HOWEVER, I make some of my kraut with lots of 'extra' juice, so I can dip into it and get a drink of kraut juice whenever the mood hits. To do that simply add more water and HONEY (sugar will work) to compensate to produce more lactic acid and probiotics.
 

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I was going to save this for a future thread, but, what the heck. I do most of my fermenting in these 3.3 litre snap ring gasket style jars. Below are cukes, beet kvass, and kraut.
 

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When I was a wee lad I remember visiting a family who came from Eastern Europe and their son led me out to the workshop and they had vats of sauerkraut fermenting away. Well, maybe not vats, but big barrels of the stuff. The family always gave my family a dozen quart jars of the stuff. I can't even imagine how much they produced.

Here my recollections get hazy. I think that they only pressure canned some it and the rest they kept in the barrels and just helped themselves whenever they had a hankerin' for some good ole sauerkraut. Does that ring true? Can kraut be kept like that for months after fermentation has stopped?

Also, does anyone here have any experience in making HUGE batches of the stuff?
Absolutely yes, kraut can be kept without pressure canning, in fact, IMO, it's an absolute shame to 'kill it' by canning it:

"..."For his second round-the-world voyage, Capt. Cook loaded 60 barrels of sauerkraut onto his ship. After 27 months at sea, 15 days before returning to England, he opened the last barrel and offered some sauerkraut to some Portuguese noblemen who had come on board. ... they carried off the rest of the barrel to give some to their friends. This last barrel was perfectly preserved after 27 months, in spite of changes in climate and the incessant rocking of the ship. The sauerkraut had also preserved sufficient quantities of Vitamin C to protect the entire crew from scurvy. Not one case occurred during the long voyage even though this disease usually decimated crews of voyages of this length."..."
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/09.15.04/dining-0438.html

One of the keys to keeping fermented foods long term is to have sufficient amounts of lactic acid (which preserves it) formed during the fermentation process. The sweeter the cabbage, the more lactic acid that will be produced, the better it will keep long term. It really is that simple. Thus the advantage of adding a little sugar to the process. My Romanian son-in-law will vouch for that.

3.3 litres is the largest container I've made kraut in, but, I do make 4-5 gallon batches of beet kvass at a time now (exact same process as making kraut, but I do add 3/4 cup sugar per gallon to the kvass must), and store it long term. Again, sufficient amounts of lactic acid must be present to enable it to be kept long term, and the addition of a little sugar or honey makes that possible.
 

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Thanks, kyredneck. I use stevia on oatmeal and in coffee, so I have plenty of it on hand. I, too, have a wicked mallet (from an auction a few years ago) and just pounded the crap out of it until the jar was filled with juice. :D Will give it another go with some seasonings to improve the flavor.
 

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Heehee, one of these days when I get a roundtewit I'm gonna make some kimchee, that's got all sorts of spices in it. I like the store bought stuff, I can only imagine what the real 'live' stuff would be like. :)
 
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