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Monday, October 8, 2012

Making Sauerkraut

There are several store bought foods that I just can't stomach. Mostly, because once you've had  homemade, you just can't eat the store bought version.  

One of those foods is

(Red beets and applesauce are also on that list)

We make our own sauerkraut every few years.
And this was the 
Year of Sauerkraut.

Making sauerkraut can be time consuming if you're making a lot.
But oh so worth it.

To begin..

We grew lots of cabbage!

 Unlike years past, it was just me and hubs left to do the job ourselves this year.  (It's one of the few disadvantages of an empty nest.)

We set up "shop" in the garage because making sauerkraut can be quite messy.

 The heads were cut (trimmed off unusable leaves), cleaned and soaked in salt water.....

they were quartered....

.....Shredded, using the Kitchen Aid.

and stomped.

Hubs made his own stomper in
the workshop.  He's tricky
like that!

Hubby stomped the kraut with each  tray of shredded cabbage I added to the crock.  He added a sprinkling of  salt with each layer. 

 I can't give you any exact amount of salt.  

We just stomp, salt, and taste!
Salt is required for the fermenting process.

When the crock is filled (do not overfill)
we add a layer of large leaves (that were remove from the cabbages) over top of the shredded cabbage and  place a dinner plate upside over the cabbage leaves. Then we fill the bottom of a garbage bag with water to create a  kind of bladder to seal the top of the crock.  The seal keeps bugs out but at the same time, allows the crock to release some gas.

Store in a nice warm place.  We left ours sit in the garage for about 3 1/2 weeks. I know this sound gross, but it is necessary for the kraut to "work."
In my experience, sauerkraut tastes best when made in warmer weather.   

 You can taste test it if you wish.  
But be aware, it will taste differently than store bought.  
As with all fermented foods, taste will vary according to external conditions and length of time allowed to ferment.

Homemade sauerkraut can be eaten raw or canned.

I saved some of mine in our extra fridge to eat raw.  Fermented foods are super nutritious.  

But the majority of it was canned and will last a very long time.  

I used my pressure cooker canner .

I packed the sterile jars with sauerkraut.  Packing the kraut down in the jars will create more juice.  Keep the juice poured off until the end.   
(A little juice will be okay.)  

If you've never made your own sauerkraut, I encourage you to give it a try.  It really is good.  You can make a small batch the first time.  My son in law has had success making it in a food grade 5 gallon bucket.  

There you have it.  Sauerkraut 101.  I hope you'll consider growing enough cabbage next year so you too can enjoy 

Homemade Sauerkraut!

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1 comment:

  1. This is great! I have been wanting to make kraut for a while but last year it was a flop. I will try your method. Looking forward to my homemade kraut! (pinning this btw)




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